Best Buys of The Holiday Season: 3 Classic New Favorites

Happy Monday!

I’m having a love/hate relationship with this day for a few reasons.

  • It’s warming back up in Florida and I miss the really cold weather, but the kids will go back to spending all their time outside playing and we can open the doors and windows again…and I love that.
  • The kids are still home from school for the 78th week of Christmas vacation. Okay, so it’s the first day of their third week home, and they go back to school on Wednesday, but there’s been a lot of child-togetherness the past few weeks, and they’re tired of one another. We’re tired of them being tired of one another.

But, otherwise, my mood is a good one. It was such a nice weekend. I spent Friday night in my office working on a few upcoming collaboration details with some amazing companies and I cannot wait to share the deets with everyone, and then I shut it down and we had family movie night.

Saturday the kids wanted Cheesecake Factory, so we spent a fun family day in Tampa eating, shopping, and behaving. The kids were complimented by numerous people and staff in the restaurant for their excellent behavior, and the best one was from the people in the booth behind us who had no idea there were four kids sitting at the table right behind them. Literally the best compliment you can have as a parent. #doingsomethingright

The past few weeks have been fun, but I am so ready to get back to our regularly scheduled programming, even though I miss the holiday season already. September 1 – December 25 has my heart, and the rest of the year is like a waiting period for that time to start again (maybe that’s a little dramatic since it’s not like we don’t have fun the rest of the year…I just reallllllly love those four months in a kind of obsessive manner).

Christmas was good in the Raiford household – if ridiculously overdone according to my sweet husband (can’t stop, won’t stop, sorry not sorry…you knew what you were getting when you married me, darlin’). My husband is the best gift-giver. He is always so thoughtful in choosing things that he knows I need or want even if I don’t know I need or want them, and he’s also quite good at ordering the things I know I want in my life (it’s like he can read my mind…or the screenshots I send him of exact item names in the exact size and color perfect for me, but who’s counting?).

I’m sharing my three favorite new must-haves – you know I love the basics – two from my husband, and one I ordered myself. They’re (mostly) classics, and two of the three are on major sale right now!

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{Shoes: Manolo Blahnik (old, similar here) | Jeans: 7Fam | Top: Old similar here | Scarf: Gift from my mother-in-law similar here | Handbag: Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM | Sunglasses: RayBan | Computer Bag: Kate Spade }

These released hem 7 For All Mankind Jeans are my new favorite ever – first, they’re ankle jeans (though that only means they’re perfect actual jeans length on my 5’3 frame) and they’re so, so, so soft. I love them. They were one of the amazing gifts under the tree from my husband this Christmas, and they are on major sale!

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{Jeans: 7FAM | Top: Dreamers by Debut Cowl Neck Sweater (sold out, similar here) | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Sunglasses: YSL (old similar here) | Handbag: Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM | Earrings: SugarFix by BaubleBar }

I’ve been eyeing these Manolos for a while now, but I already have two pair of black pumps that I’ve been loving on for approximately a decade. A gorgeous pair of snakeskin Jimmy Choos I got on major sale before I even had kids, and a pair of patent leather Louboutins I love. But I don’t have a pair of suede pumps, and I really wanted them. Manolo’s BB pumps are my favorite of all time, and I was excited on Christmas morning to find them under the tree!

I am such a sucker for classic heels in black and nude, and I’m always going to invest in a pair that last forever. Trust me when I say these last!

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{Tory Burch Blossom Ballet Flats}

Who doesn’t love a good pair of ballet flats? In Florida, these are kind of our winter shoes. We put away the flip flops and sandals a few weeks out of the year in favor of ballet flats that cover our toes and keep us warm in the chilly mid-60 degree winter weather.

Okay, so it’s been in the 30s here the past week and I love it, but we all know that’s not actually normal winter weather. 60s is about right. Anyway, I saw these during the Tory Burch 30% off sale – and I still hadn’t used my $50 gift card from TB that expired the last day of the year. I ended up ordering these from the Tory Burch website, and I paid $67. They were already on sale, plus they were 30% off, and I had my TB gift card TB is so amazing to send every year. It was a major win.

What amazing buys did you score this holiday season on sale or not?

 

Stocking Stuffers for Him Under $100

I shared a few of my own personal favorite stocking stuffers for the beloved ladies in your life on Monday, but what about the men in your life? Husbands, fathers, boyfriends, best friends, brothers, the mailman…hey, I don’t know what you do in your personal time.

My husband loves when the items in his stocking are useful and enjoyable, and Santa works hard to ensure that happens. He loves when there are new socks in there. He’s obsessed with Lacoste underpants, too – and that’s something he’s going to love me sharing with all of you, I’m sure. Some Hershey kisses, a few lottery tickets he can scratch off, new toothbrushes….maybe even a new beard trimmer. He likes useful, and I like him.

So he’s gone through my Sephora app to find his favorite stocking stuffers for the practical – and amazing-smelling – man in your life. Each one is under $100 to make it easy for you to stuff his stocking. And with free two-day shipping for only $10 a year, you have plenty of time to get it in time for Santa’s arrival.

Givenchy: Gentlemen Only Cologne

This is by far my favorite cologne. It’s masculine and light, but also just so subtle. When he walks by in this, I just want to be close to him….if that’s not incentive, what is?

YSL L’Homme Deodorant

It’s not always easy to find deodorant that works well and smells good, but this one takes it all the way. It’s strong enough to last all day, but light enough it doesn’t leave him feeling as if he has too much on or not enough on.

The Art of Shaving: Shaving Cream 

Sandalwood is so subtle and masculine, and that’s what makes this shaving cream so amazing. My husband doesn’t shave often because he only trims his facial hair but when he does, he uses this and it smells so good.

Peter Thomas Roth Shampoo and Conditioner

If the man in your life doesn’t want to smell like your shampoo and conditioner, try this. It’s very light, and it leaves his hair soft and clean. It’s not frilly, and that’s what makes it perfect for his everyday grooming needs.

{All Photos Courtesy of Sephora.com}

 

IG Roundup: What I’ve Been Wearing Lately

Hello! It has been several weeks since I last posted OTB, and I apologize for taking such a long break…but it was much needed! I touched on it a bit on a recent #ootd post on IG, but we’ve been out of town four of the past five weekends. To sum it all up, we had two weekends in a row in Tampa, my birthday weekend was spent in New York City, and we’ve been home from a whirlwind four-day visit to Southern California for a little more than a week now.

To say we are tired is an understatement! California is a three-hour time difference for us, it was daylight savings time weekend, and we had a red-eye flight home Monday. 41 hours awake by the time we went to bed the day we got home, and then four nights out of the house following that was just too much for our poor aging souls to handle. Add four kids (and my business and Craig’s job) to the mix and we were the actual walking dead all last week.

We knew it would happen – you only live once, right? We preplanned a weekend at home this past weekend. We turned down several invitations to go out, but we made the right decision. The kids were tired, they missed us last weekend, and we all needed a break. We literally didn’t leave our house all weekend – and it was AMAZING.

We always try to keep our Sundays free of making plans so we have at least one day to rest, to prep for the week, and to do what we want to do versus what we’re obligated to do, but I’m thinking a full weekend of nothing every few weeks could become a part of our lives. I’m refreshed.

Anyway, I thought I might share a few things I’ve been wearing lately as a way of easing myself back into the blog. My business is busy this time of year. My clients want more work, different work, and they want everything yesterday during the holidays, so I’m writing more than ever (which is a lot on a slow day) and every free moment has been devoted to my web content creation. *whew*

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{Adelyn Rae Navy Kimono Jumpsuit (I wore size small, but it ran a bit large) | Manolo Blahnik heels (old) similar here | Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM | Ray-Ban Aviators | SugarFix by BaubleBar Earrings from Target}

I fell a little bit in love with this look when we were in the OC. I wore it to #StyleConOC, and the compliments I received were amazing! I also wore it to lunch on the Harbour at the A&O Kitchen at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach. Total win.

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{Sweater old similar here | Jeans 7 for All Mankind | Manolos old similar here | Ray-Ban Aviators | Scarf (gift from my amazing mother-in-law) similar here }

Anytime it gets a little cold here, I’m all about finding something winter-y to wear, and this sweater is everything. It’s my favorite kind of basic with a little excitement in the unexpected hemline. Fun fact: I wore this sweater all day without a clue it had a giant hole in the seam along my right side.

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{sweater is sold out similar here and here | Jeans Rag & Bone | OTK boots | YSL sunglasses old similar here }

I bought this sweater for NYC, and I’m in love! And so is everyone else, apparently, but it’s sold out at Nordstrom. Paired with OTK boots and skinny jeans, it’s simple, casual, and easy.

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{Shirt sold out similiar here | Rag & Bone jeans sold out similar here | Tory Burch Boots | YSL Sunglasses old similar here }

Would you even believe me if I told you that I wore this outfit to go coralling pigs? True story. It was for farm day at my twin’s school…and those pink balloon pigs stood no chance against me and my farm-wear. This top is amazing with it’s tunic-length in the back, but it’s sold out. I’m sorry!

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{ Top | Jeans | Shoes old similar here | Sunglasses }

Are you sensing a little bit of a trend here? I like casual looks that are easy and simple, and I like to throw on my favorite heels when it’s time for fall and they feel oh-so-appropriate (even though my husband feels it’s ridiculous I ignore all my other shoes for one pair because they “look like the holidays” but hey…he picked my crazy self to marry, so who’s crazy now?). Honestly, I have four kids and a business to run…and getting dressed needs to be effortless. There’s not on ounce of shame in my game.

Here’s to finally feeling refreshed after having too much fun…this week, anyway. Because the rest of the year is jam-packed with fun adventures!

 

 

Instagram Roundup: What I’ve Been Wearing Lately

I have been so MIA lately…I know. This season of life is so busy for us! Between Hurricane Irma disrupting life for two weeks, a long weekend in New York City, birthdays, Gator Football, PTA-momming, and everything the fall season brings our way, I’m so busy I find myself unable to breathe some days.

But I kind of like it like that. This month I dedicated five days to the girls’ school book fair, working early in the mornings and late into the night to write 75,000 words that week. Every weekend is pre-booked with a trip or an event, I’m spending two days before the month is out volunteering for festivals and fun at the twins’ school, hair appointments, new brakes, errands, Addison’s three dance classes and her advanced acro class, as well as her newfound passion for wanting to be at school 45 minutes early two mornings a week to participate in the running club; basically this month has 22 working days for me and 9 of them have been/will be spent not in my office working (that’s 135,000) words I need to find time to write outside of my normal office hours.

I’m lying. I really love it. I love being involved in the kids’ lives and being there for all the things they love to do. It makes me happy, even if my husband says it gives me crazy eyes from time to time (eye rolls and laughter go here).

But…that does mean the blog has taken a backseat this month. Sorry, y’all, but the kids come first! And that’s why I’m too lazy to come up with anything innovative and amazing for you today other than a not-so-sorry apology for being a little MIA and an Insta-outfit roundup. And a quick promise to do better.

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{Jeans | Top | Wedges |Sunglasses | Handbag }

I call this look my “I wish it was cool enough to get away with wearing this and not sweating, but it’s not,” look. Also – you will see this shirt in about 783793 different colors because I have them all. What can I say? When I find something I love, I get them all. This is why I have four kids.

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( Jeans | Top | Sunglasses | Shoes | Handbag }

Oh look…same jeans, same top, same bag, same glasses. I literally changed the color of the shirt and the shoes and called it a brand-new outfit. I call this ensemble, “Mom Life,” because ain’t nobody got time to get creative when you’re already running late.

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{ Dress | Bag | Boots | Sunglasses }

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{ Leggings | Top – It’s TopShop from Nordstrom, but I cannot find it anywhere anymore!| Shoes (old, but I love these!) |Clutch }

Fun fact: This hotel mirror selfie came a mere 10 hours before we were pulling up to the airport at 4 am to catch a flight to NYC on my birthday and I suddenly remembered I left my bag in the hotel. We missed that flight. But my faux-leather leggings are literally the best thing about cooler weather, and my gold and fuschia Manolo Blaniks are two-years-old, but they never fail to elicit at least a half-dozen compliments when I wear them.

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{ Jeans |Top | Belt (old, but I love this one) | Handbag | Glasses (old but similar ones here) | Shoes }

And I’ve had a few Instagram questions about my front door details in some of my OOTD posts:

Welcome Mat – Personalizationmall.com

Fall Wreath – Wayfair

Front Door Color – Front Door Red (Seriously. I did not make that up. But I cannot remember if it was from Lowes or Home Depot. But it was definitely one of those places).

Prada Marfa Mug – Etsy (just search for it once you’re logged in)

Necklace – I do wear the same necklace all the time, and it’s super old. It’s a Tiffany & Co. necklace my husband gifted me almost 10 years ago when I was pregnant with our first child. When we found out what we were having and chose her name (Addison), he bought the necklace with an “A” charm on it for me (don’t worry – now I say it stands for both Addison and Ava and I have the same charm with a “C” on my bracelet for Carter, Charlotte, and Craig so no one is left out!). It means all the everythings to me, and I only leave it off when I’m working out.

3 Classic Ways to Style a Blazer for Instant Chic

Is anyone else keeping an eye on the tropics like it’s their job? As a lifelong Floridian, I’ve been so exceptionally blessed to have never been through a major storm. The worst was back in 2004 when we had three or four back-to-back hurricanes and tropical storms come our way. It pushed back the permit-pulling process of our new construction at the time. We were 20 and 21, building our first house, and very annoyed our permits kept being pushed. Of course, it’s hard to be annoyed when the reason was to give current homeowners a chance to rebuild and repair after such significant storm damage.

Right now, I’m concerned because I’ll be in NYC this weekend for NYFW. If this storm hits us here, we aren’t going. If it skirts the coast and there’s any chance it might affect NYC, we aren’t going. We have four small kids – and they are our priority. So….we shall see how this plays out and affects our flights, our trip, and our weekend. God’s plan is always greater than my own, so there’s no sense in stressing over things right now.

There’s also no sense in not sharing one of my favorite closet stapes – the blazer. I love it. I love everything about it. I love a black blazer, and I love a white blazer. I’m on the hunt for a blue one right now, but I can’t seem to fall in love with any I’ve seen thus far.

So as you’re enjoying the final day of your long weekend – as am I – it’s time to think about how you can change the entire look of any ensemble with a chic blazer. I’m sharing three of my favorite ways to make my favorite go-to outfits a little chicer with a blazer below. It just gives it that little extra, don’t you think?

{Blazer: Forever 21  | Belt: Gucci  | Dress: Old Navy | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Sunglasses: Yves Saint Laurent}

Over A Casual Dress

I love a classic black blazer over a casual dress. This is such a fun dress because it’s got small straps, and it can be worn as a casual dress with flip flops for a fun day at Disney, to a pool party, or to run errands. Add some fun heels (I love these with the bow), a belt, and a blazer, and you’re instantly polished and chic.

{Jeans: 7 for All Mankind | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Top: Lush | Blazer: Mural | Sunglasses: Gucci }

With White 

A white blazer is so effortless, and who cares if it’s a fashion faux pas to wear white after Labor Day? I’m a rule breaker…I love the dark denim with the all white. It’s fun, and you can wear it as casual or as dressed up as you prefer. It screams casual Friday with a twist of chic.

{Jeans: Rag & Bone | Shoes: Tory Burch | Blazer: Forever 21 | Hogwarts Alumni Tee: Target Style | Sunglasses: Ray Ban

With A Basic Tee

If I had my way, I’d dress up every single day. I have four kids and 100 million things to do, so sometimes it’s more like jeans and a tee. To keep it from being too basic, however, I love a fun tee with a fun saying (and I looooove Harry Potter so this shirt is everything) and a blazer. It always feel so casual cool in my eyes.

How do you love to dress up your basics?

*And I hope that everyone is keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma at this point – preparing for the worst while praying for the best. Please listen to your local meteorologist and prepare for this storm if there is even a minor chance it might affect you and your family. This is not a storm to take lightly, nor is it wise to prepare at the last moment*

Maxi Madness

{Dress | Shoes similar here | Sunglasses | Clutch similar here }

Who doesn’t love a good maxi dress? I love them, but I go through phases. It seems that it’s always the beginning of spring and the end of summer. Almost like it’s my way of telling winter and summer it’s time to go. Leave, winter…I’m ready for dresses and sunshine. Leave, summer…I actually hate you with all your heat and humidity and sweat.

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Oh, who am I kidding? We don’t have winter or fall around here. It’s always summer all the time. But, that means it’s always perfect weather for a maxi dress, and I shared a few of my favorites this week on Instagram. Sadly, my very favorite is no longer in stock. I bought it from Nordstrom last summer and unlike a few of the pieces they bring back year after year, this one didn’t make the cut.

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{similar dresses here here and here }

The other I found online at Forever 21 after I saw another blogger wearing it! it was only $19, which means it’s officially my new favorite.

As summer turns into fall for so many people (People I don’t want to hate but kind of do when I see you talking about cool weather and fall stuff…because I’m sure you’re lovely, but I’m bitter and mean when I’m sweaty), it’s perfect maxi weather. With wedges for fun, a blazer if it’s cool, and even some booties if you love to be a little edgy.

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Last Day of the #Nsale & A Few Favorites You Don’t Want to Miss

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{Tunic: Lush here | Leggings: BP here | Shoes: Christian Louboutin So Kate here | Bag: Prada here | Earrings: Sugarfix by Bauble Bar here | Glasses: Yves Saint Laurent (Old) similar here}

Happy Sunday, darlings!

I hope everyone is having a gorgeous weekend filled with whatever it is that makes your heart happy. We’ve had a lovely weekend thus far. Friday night was date night with another great couple, yesterday we took our big girls on our annual back-to-school wardrobe shopping trip (do not get me started on our 6-year-old’s choices….she makes me cry silent tears of horror and resignation), and today is bedroom switch day.

Our big girls share what we call the private ‘wing’ in our house. They have a cool pocket door that separates their section of the house from the rest of the first floor so their bedrooms and their bathroom are kind of private. Anyway, they want to switch bedrooms this weekend, so it’s paint (because they both hate the color of the other’s room) and new décor and all that fun stuff…all with a 9-year-old with an upset stomach. That’s not awesome, but they’re still excited about their room switch.

But before we get started on that, I wanted to share with you a gentle reminder it’s the last day of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale if you haven’t done your shopping just yet. I have to be honest when I tell you that most everything I’ve purchased in the past few weeks from Nordstrom wasn’t actually included in the sale….oops.

Anyway, I this amazing Lush Tunic is a MAJOR staple in my closet. I have it in 8 (maybe nine?!) colors. And I’ll share a secret – it’s always on “Sale” for $27. I bought this black one in 2015 just before NYFW and every time a new color is introduced, I order it….for $27.

These faux leather leggings are everything.

So hurry up and shop the last day of the sale. Or don’t. Either way, you’ll still find these great fall pieces tomorrow.

Keeping My Travel Style Simple Chic in the Airport

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Few things stress me out more than figuring out what to wear to the airport.

First world problems, I know.

Listen, I’m certainly not complaining about the traveling we get to do or minimizing any actual, real, valid life problems – I’m merely stating a simple fact. I have serious issues figuring out what to wear to the airport.

I have too much dignity to go anywhere in my pajamas.

Pants dictating the temperate across my rear-end aren’t my jam (hottie).

Leggings make me feel like a mom, so those are out. (Yes, I know. I am a mom. Geez.)

Will I be hot? Will I be cold?

I’d love to wear a dress and keep it simple, but we all know passengers would see more of VS underpants than my actual face if I did that. So – no.

It’s always about comfort, functionality, and style for me. And jeans. Because so far this year I’ve spilled my Starbucks down my leg on two flights and avoided serious burns only because of my jeans. I thank the jean Gods for that one. Anyway; airport style varies, and you should really dress for you. When we fly and the kids aren’t with us, it’s easier for me to dress. When they are with us, I find myself gravitating toward darker colors so they can’t make a (noticeable) mess of me if they spill something.

Says she who spills her coffee every single time.

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Not Your Mama’s Jeans

I’m a dark wash girl all the way, and I looooove a good pair of quality jeans. 7 For All Mankind is my favorite, but I do love some Rag & Bone. These are my favorite skinny jeans, but I also like these boyfriend jeans, too. They’re comfortable, they wear well, and they are super flattering on all body types.

Not-So-Basic Tees and A Sweater/Blazer

On top, I like a basic tee. Layers are helpful, so I like to bring either a sweater or blazer with me. Blazers are for the times the kids aren’t with us, and sweaters are for when they are with us. Why? I don’t know, really, but sweaters just say “Good mom” and blazers kind of say “Bad-ass” to me. Since “good mom” and badass kind of go hand-in-hand, the sweater says it all when the kids are in tow.

Try this sweater, this blazer, and this one.

I like my tees longer in the back and tucked in up front. I never wear a belt when I travel, even though I miss the opportunity. I already have too much stuff with me to want to spend additional time disrobing at security, to be honest. Nordstrom always has my favorite basic tees, and I’m linking this one, this one, and this one for you, too. They’re fab. And each one is a little bit more than basic. It’s comfort on a brand-new level.

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Shoes For Comfort and Style  

Flats, friends. I once navigated the LaGuardia a 5 am in a pair of 4-inch Manolos sicker than you even want to know after having entirely too much wine at the Plaza the night before, and I regretted every moment of that day. Hashtag true story. Hashtag lesson learned.

I’m a big fan of my Reva flats – but now you’ll need to go with the Minnie ballet flat – and my espadrilles. I don’t love sandals or flip-flops in the airport, though. My toes are always cold – and in case you didn’t know, I always spill my coffee. Feet safety first, y’all. But really, choosing the right shoes that are both comfortable and a little unexpected can really make a boring outfit a little more exciting.

PS – My Tory Burch espadrilles (pictured above) are on sale right now for only $79!

Accessories, Accessories, Accessories

Wear the belt, girlfriend – I won’t, but I should. Earrings, hats, great shoes, great sunglasses, great handbags; it’s all you need. When you have the right accessories, you’re going to love how you feel even when you’re in a basic white tee and some skinny jeans. Personally, I think a bigger bag is perfect in the airport for all your little extras, but I’ve seen women in their smallest crossbodies rocking them like it’s their job. It just depends on what you prefer.

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So, now you know that I’m all about simplicity and ease when I travel. I need to be comfortable and not worry about how many people might see my lady bits, but I need to feel confident in what I wear, too. It’s helpful when the kids are with me and I need to bend over to pick things up, get 396 things out of the overhead bin, and I spill my coffee all over myself they make a mess and I’m their victim. What’s your favorite go-to travel item?

Friday Favorites: 4 Easy Ways to Make A Statement When You Have No Time

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Sometimes you just want to make a statement. Sometimes that statement is a big one. Sometimes it’s a small one, and sometimes it’s just the icing on the cake.

I love cake.

When it comes to style, we all make our own personal statement. Mine is borderline lazy. I need to feel put-together and well-dressed, but I don’t have much time most days. With a business to run, a husband to make out with, and four very cute kids, sometimes I have about half a second to make myself look as good as the kids (whom I spent an hour dressing meticulously…except for Ava. Ava dresses Ava. Please give Ava credit for Ava…I don’t want any of that!).

The secret is simple – own all the Lilly Pulitzer because it’s fun and pretty and feminine and because it takes a half second to throw on a dress and cute shoes. But when I don’t have the kids with me, it’s more of a game on kind of situation. I still like simple. I like monochromatic looks with a pop of color. I like simple ensembles with great accessories. I’m a classic kind of girl, but I love to make a statement.

It’s not always easy to figure that out, but sometimes you can make a big statement and a massive style impact with one item that’s so simple it’s underrated. Trust me – with no time and a great deal of vanity, I know a thing or two about making a statement. That’s why today’s Friday Favorites are all about the simplest ways to make one.

Statement Jewelry

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A long strand of pearls knotted at the bottom is one of my favorite ways to make a statement. It’s classic, but it’s also fun and fearless. Since I don’t typically wear much in the way of jewelry, it’s big for me to wear a statement piece. My jewelry all has meaning to me, and I keep it very simple.

You’ll know I’m making a statement when you see me in my pearls or when you see me in big, colorful earrings. The secret with the earrings is I like to keep them cheap. I don’t care if they break, I don’t care if they’re trendy and I never wear them more than once, and I don’t care if they get all kinds of messed up in the ocean or in the pool – but they do make such a fun statement when the rest of my look is simple.

I love Bealls Outlet, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Target for statement jewelry. Let’s face it, the cheaper the better when it comes to things I won’t wear often!

Statement Shoes

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Again, I’m a sucker for a classic nude pump, but sometimes I like to make a statement. Anytime I have no time or I don’t feel good in anything (you know that week every month, ladies), I gravitate toward black. Black skinny jeans, a black sweater or tunic, a black top with a black blazer. All black.

But I like to mix it up with these gorgeous sometimes red, sometimes fuchsia, sometimes pink and gold heels I found at Bergdorf’s two or three years ago. They are the one pair of shoes I receive the most compliments on, and I love them.

I love these with all black, and sometimes I love to really make them pop by adding a scarf to the mix. My mother-in-law saw the scarf in the photo a few years ago and decided it was perfect for me – and she was right. It was made for these shoes with the same colors, and pairing them together makes everything stand out.

If you can make a statement, do it by choosing one color on the top and bottom and adding bold accessories. Bright shoes are great. Bright shoes and a secondary bright accessory are everything.

My Manolos in the photo are old, but I am in love with these, these, and these.

Statement Lips

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If you know me at all, you know I go nowhere without a bold lip. Statement lips are my serious go-to, and how much easier does it get than throwing on a shade of red or pink or whatever color you prefer? I get so many compliments on my lipstick I’ve had to give out the designer and the color names so many times I can virtually recite the URL to each page on Nordstrom’s site.

People love a bold lip, but I think most people are a little intimidated by it. They want to try it, but they can’t get past the concept that a bold pink or bright red has no place on a Tuesday morning dropping the kids off at school. I beg to differ. A bold lip is everything.

Confidence

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Ladies, listen; you can make the biggest statement of all by just being comfortable in your own skin. At the risk of being just a little TMI-ish right now, here I go. When my monthly visitor (to whom I am so appreciative of because the Good Lord knows a fifth baby or another set of twins would actually kill me) is in town, I’m a mess.

I’m emotional. My feelings are easily hurt (read: I’m a big bitch) and I swear I gain 48 pounds of bloat (48, 3, whatever). I feel unattractive, I have zero confidence, and I’m not my best version of my best self). I can put on my favorite outfit anytime this week and feel horrible in it, receive zero compliments, and feel gross.

I can put it on three days after my visitor is gone for another month and hear a half-dozen compliments in one night – and I swear it’s my confidence. I suddenly feel much prettier, much happier, and much more like myself. Maybe it’s because I’m actually smiling and happy and appear to others as a normal human versus an angry dinosaur with an attitude…I don’t know.

All I know is you have to have confidence. If you don’t feel 100% perfect in something, take it off. You’re never going to pull it off without the confidence to rock it. I don’t care how trendy, fashionable, or overly-worn by every single supermodel, celebrity, or Instagram fashion blogger it is. You don’t feel good in it, no one thinks you look good in it.

And that’s all I’ve got for you on this gorgeous Friday. I’m off to get my 95 percent silver hair done, and then it’s a fun-filled weekend with my little (huge) family – and I can’t wait! What are your weekend plans, and what’s your favorite statement piece?

My Favorite Trendy Tops for Summer With H&M and Old Navy for Under $20

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What I love so much about fashion is just how versatile and gorgeous it is. I love how one woman can wear something so spectacular and look like a total Rockstar while I look like a total lunatic in the same thing (obviously I wish I looked like a supermodel in everything, but we all know our limits!). I love how personal style is, and I love how we all have our personal style rules, which is what I want to talk about right now. My personal style rules. They’re mine. They’re not meant to make anyone else feel as if their own personal style rules are wrong or less or more or whatever; they’re yours, and that makes them the best.

My personal style rules are pretty simple, and they stem from what I’ve learned about myself in the past (almost) 34 years.

  • Accessories pull together an outfit
  • Classics and timeless pieces are always a wonderful choice
  • Dark-wash jeans are the most flattering
  • Always spend more on shoes, handbags, sunglasses, and jeans
  • DVF makes everything in life amazing
  • Lilly Pulitzer is never a bad idea
  • A great mixture of high-end and low-end pieces always rocks

Okay, so those are my beliefs. But you know what I mean. In almost 34 years on this planet, I’ve learned a lot about my personal style. I look best in bright colors. I don’t look good in muted tones. I don’t feel comfortable if I’m not in amazing shoes, and I rarely feel comfortable in trendy clothes. High-necks aren’t for me, and I don’t rock a strapless top. I love an off-the-shoulder top, but I feel like I’m trying to be 21 again when I put one on, and that leaves me feeling self-conscious and less than confident.

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Top Old Navy (listed below as a peplum top) | Shorts Lilly Pulitzer (old pattern) similar here | Shoes Tory Burch Millers here | Sunglasses Gucci (old) similar here 

And that is where the number one rule of style for EVERY woman comes in: If you don’t feel confident in it, it shows and you don’t look good. Back to the off-the-shoulder tops: I love them. The women who rock them, ROCK them. I, on the other hand, don’t.

This year I’ve fallen in love with trendy tops, but I won’t spend a lot of money on them. When it comes to the classics, there’s no price too high. When it comes to trends, I’m not spending $20 on it because I know I’ll only wear it a few times (another good style rule to follow!). This summer I’ve fallen in love with ruffles and lace, and there is no place better than H&M and Old Navy to find super affordable, super trendy tops that always look good. After spending the weekend doing a little shopping, I thought I’m sharing my under $20 finds for anyone who wants to rock a little trendy with a little classic.

Lace is always so feminine and pretty, and you can’t go wrong with this top, this top, or this one. I’ve been in all of them so far, and they’ve been getting compliments everywhere I go.

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Top H&M available in stores | Belt Gucci (old) similar here| Jeans Rag & Bone here | Apple Watch | Bracelet Tiffany & Co. (old) |Lips Bobbi Brown Neon Pink | Sunglasses Yves Saint Laurent (old) similar here

Bell-sleeves are an old favorite. I bought a black dress about a decade ago from Ann Taylor Loft with bell-sleeves, and I still get compliments on it all the time. This top, this top, and this top are always fun choices.

And then there’s the peplum top. It’s fun, and I love this one.