We wanted to capture the excitement, awkwardness, and romance that people experience on a first date. The thrill of it all comes with the uncertainty. Questions like, "did he mean to touch my hand?" and "I wonder if he'll kiss me" or even sometimes, "when will this be over?" race through your mind. The models did an excellent job of portraying this. I went for a warm, comforting look, that really represented Grand Rapids, something that felt right in a casual coffee house setting. Alex, the female model, had a cute selection of dresses to pick from, so we chose a lightweight suede dress in a warm tan tone. I paired it with a muted light pink bag, black tights and booties, and tossed in her red toggle wool coat to really bring out Alex's signature red lip. On the male model, I wanted to play up the red without overpowering Alex, so I decided on a casual red plaid button-down with slim, well-cut jeans, simple black shoes and a nice leather jacket. I wanted their looks to compliment each other, but not distract or overpower the other.
Now when you first meet Shawn, you might notice her edgy platinum hair, her kind and expressive eyes, or her contagious laugh, but as you get to know Shawn, you'll realize that she has seen her share of obstacles and that no matter what stands in her way, she is one tough SOB that refuses to be held down.
Most of us have some case of the winter blues right now, but that doesn't mean that being cooped up inside has to be a drab experience. These colors are popping up everywhere, and going nowhere. They are timeless, flexible, and adaptable to any style, most color schemes, and while they are attention-getters, won't take the focus away from artwork, standout accessories or statement pieces. These colors will go equally well with silver, brass, or iron hardware as well as warm, cool, light or dark floors, and trust my when I say accessorizing these colors is SO. MUCH. FUN. Have fun with these and always keep an open mind in your home designs.
When I first met Andrea at a makeup session for our Mia's photo shoot, she confidently strolled through the door and first complimented my eye makeup, then promptly thanked me for including her in our day, said it was nice to meet me, as well as had several synchronous conversations with the others in the group. I was immediately impressed at her ability to chat with about 4 of us all at once and actually understand what was going on. This lovely lady exuded a sort of ego-less confidence that I wish I had. We all sat and chatted throughout the morning, discussing all sorts of things. I learned that Andrea, a single mother to her son, is also an NPC bikini model competitor, professional fitness and fashion model, trainer and nutrition expert, and master hair stylist. She is also working on her NASM Personal training education. She is a very busy lady, and a lady with style.
We don't have full time in-home trainers, never-tiring feet, or personal shoppers to scour the racks, online shops and thrift shops for stylish duds, we are real women, with real shapes, real schedules, and real lives to live. I wanted to give my readers who are not the typical model shape (hello, everybody!) a little cheat sheet to finding clothes that will both fit and flatter you because how you dress should make you feel strong, beautiful and confident. It's tough to feel that way when your clothes are shapeless, you have pant legs dragging behind you, or you feel like nothing more than a vessel for human life. I hope this helps and gives you a bit more freedom and confidence in your shopping selections
There comes a point in every girl's life when you just need a little luxury. Enter: Leigh's. Whether it's the touch of a luxe wool, breathtakingly elegant formalwear, or the impeccable service, when you enter the store, located in the ever-growing Breton Village near the corner of Breton and Burton, you can't help but feel a bit pampered. You could easily spend a few hours just browsing the upscale selection they provide. The whole team involved in the shoot was in awe of the amount of items in the store, and how nice everything was. It truly was an amazing day getting to style looks from such a beautiful and luxurious store. We hope you like the looks!
It helps with the morning commute, or whenever you need to leave the house, especially if you have little kids you have to get ready along with you, to have one or two go-to outdoor weather outfits. Here's a look that is warm, weatherproof and very stylish in black, navy and bright red. A clear umbrella promises never to clash with anything, and black and blue accessories are no-brainers when you're in a rush since black pretty much goes with everything and navy will match any share of jeans you have on. I hope you like it and are finding your own ways to stay warm out there.
I've always loved fashion, the materials, designs, models, trends, everything about it. I get the same rush shopping for designer handbags that I think some people get from extreme sports, and instead of playing outside or hanging out with friends, I spent a lot of my childhood drawing "the girl" in various outfits. I just love the self-expression you achieve by dressing a certain way and how when you combine beauty, clothing, accessories and attitude, you can create a work of art.
Last year, I didn't spend much time on myself, or my sanity. I have recently started reading books (yes, books, with real paper and ink, not a kindle, tablet, computer, phones, phablet, etc.) and OMG, I. Love. it. Since I'm a web developer, I don't get much time AFK (remember "away from keyboard" from our AIM days?), so I savor it when I can get it. I've moved my planning from online to a paper notebook, stopped buying books on my kindle and have a set-aside designated time to unplug and read. It's been so amazing so far, I really do feel like it's one of the best decisions I've made in the past few months.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to 2017 all! I know a lot of us were more than ready to give 2016 the boot, so congrats on the newfound hope and opportunity that a new, hopefully less shitty, year beings. Let's make the most of it.
This list is anything but exhaustive, and there so many great places to get gifts and support your local community, so instead of Amazon-primining if this (last minute) holiday season, check out this list and take some time out of your lunch hour, errand running or Netflix binging to get something personal, local and most of all, on-time for the people who matter to you this holiday.
Hopefully you have some kind of holiday celebration coming up. While they provide a nice, and usually much needed, break from the end-of-year hustle of trying to get everything crammed in by the end of the year, the number one question I get asked is, "what do I wear?" When it comes to party attire, you'll hear everything from the normal "business casual" and "black tie" to "holiday chic" or "semi-formal." So, whether you work in a law office or restaurant, have $50 to spend or $5000, here is the ultimate party dress guide for your style, budget and party type.
The holidays are pretty crazy for us. We really enjoy taking part in holiday traditions like decorating the tree, hanging stockings, baking cookies, and most of all, spending money. Whether it be for gifts, decorations, party supplies, etc. it is hard, maybe even impossible, to not spend extra money during the holidays. This stuff also takes time. Picking out presents, taking the baby to see Santa, returning all the stuff you get that you don't want, it all takes time. I really like things to run efficiently in our house so that I can use my brain to create and develop important things rather than make a million decisions about errands and trivial tasks. Here is a list of some of the brands and programs that I use to help stay sane this time of year. These tools will help to automate your life, your savings and add a bit of time back into your day.
When this time of year comes around, my purchasing patterns turn from casual separates and accessories to an odd combination of loungewear and party attire. This year, however, since I'm freelancing, I have fewer events to go to, so the loungewear has really taken precedence. I love the soft neutrals featured in this post as well as the interesting texture combinations and shapes.
Trends always come back around, so hopefully you still have your tiered mini's and GAP hoodies because they are back ladies and gents! Flounce skirts are popping up all over the holiday collections. Another trend that came back this late summer and has since gained traction is logo sweatshirts. Here are three very affordable sweatshirt looks using the same red flounce skirt from Zara.
We all have friends and family who are difficult to buy for, so I thought I'd write some posts to help you out. This time of year, I really get into holiday movies, freshly baked cookies and just generally acting like a kid again. This gift list is for that friend, colleague, family member, or even yourself that refuses to grow up. Unfortunately for them (or you), biology has a way of making things progress, but with these unique, stylish and super fun gifts, you can keep them joking, laughing and smiling all the way over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house or whatever the song says.
First of all, Happy Halloween everyone! If you grew up like me, playing dress up for hours, sometimes days on end, you should definitely hear over to Mia's Dress Boutique on Wealthy st. in Grand Rapids. This shoot was a tough one to style in the time given, simply because of how many fun and unique pieces they carry. They have everything from formal dresses and sets to casual separates and novelty accessories, so when it came time to narrow my selection down to 3 or 4 looks, it was really tough. I hope you love these looks as much as I do!
While I'm a fan of Etsy-esq decor and am fully aware that I'm just a few years, if not months away from a fridge covered in beautiful scribbles, I like my decor like I like my fashion; high end modern, clean cuts and lines and on trend, so I hope you enjoy these Halloween inspired items for this spooky time of year. They'd make a great setting for a fancy cocktail costume party.
These days we're all moving a mile a minute. That doesn't mean we can't look fabulous while doing so. When we look and feel our best, we do our best work, so here's an outfit that can take you from your morning meetings to your date lunch to your afternoon errands and then of course happy hour cocktails. It's comfy, luxurious, on trend and super chic. This look plays with varying textures like leather, suede and wool while staying clean and minimalist.
Let me tell you ladies and gents, I am not an easily impressed person. I hold my friends, family and myself to very high standards and have a low tolerance for laziness and complacency. I realize how few of you reading this are now getting in line to be my next BFF, but the result is a group of amazingly kind, loyal and dedicated people. I hold kindness above all other traits and consider passion a pre-requisite before investing much time in a person, professionally. When I came in contact with Alyssa Ferguson (pronounced Ah-Lee-Sah), she checked both of those boxes instantly, and I was impressed. I was also very excited to meet another person who wrote as thorough and as detailed emails as me. We were introduced through a mutual contact and ended up collaborating on the Shop Local photoshoot at Jade. She provided the beautiful florals including living succulent accessories and a gorgeous flower crown, and helped style the looks in our most recent Shop Local with Mia's photo shoot, post coming soon. She is quite the "jane" of all trades, with some serious skills in floral design. Read on to learn more about this incredibly hard working and creative woman. Prepare to be inspired.
It's sweater season, folks! I say that now, remembering the sunny, 75 degree weather we had today. Regardless, it's definitely sweater season, so dust off those cable knits, ponchos, turtlenecks and dolmans because fall is in full affect. Here are some of my favorite comfy, cozy sweaters from Asos, where many of them are under $50. Snuggle away!
A lot of people think that to put on a stylish, full face, you need to spend an hour carefully plucking, priming and painting. After many years of practice, I think I've got a routine down that goes quickly, is fairly slip-up proof and is a lot of fun to do. This routine takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and uses mostly mid-range beauty and makeup products, so somewhere between drug store brands and luxury beauty buys. You can get most of these items at Sephora or Ulta.
I've always considered myself a city girl. I don't like grass, dirt, insects or just being outdoors in general, so in 2014 when my husband and I moved up to Rockford, MI, somewhere known for its bike trails and farms, people were a bit surprised. To be honest, I really enjoyed seeing green again after living in an apartment in downtown Grand Rapids for the previous year. Our current home and neighborhood in Rockford are so beautiful and we feel very blessed to be here. When I started doing the Shop Local series for the blog, I wanted to feature some of the great boutiques up here in downtown Rockford since we actually have a pretty great selection. I also wanted to do something in a different style than the previous shoots at Denym and Humanity Boutique. That is when I thought of Jade, one of the most popular boutiques in the area, that has a very unique, modern yet bohemian style selection.
One of my favorite things about fall is coats. There are few things in the fashion world that I love more than coats. My husband has made me move my out of season coats to the guest coat closet because there isn't any more room in the main coat closet. This makes us seem super fancy, but we really just have a closet by the front door and one by the side. I love that instead of trenches, bombers, puffers or bikers being in style and in ready supply this season, they are ALL in full throttle production this fall.
Hopefully soon, we'll actually be getting some fall weather, but until then, we can start planning what to wear. It probably doesn't make sense to write a post about turtlenecks in September, but it's my blog, so I do what I want. Since this fall is all about layering, it can be hard to pick out looks that really show you what I'm getting at without actually layering the images or actually buying everything, so I'm going to rely on the rest of the internet tonight to show you some of the coolest, and definitely easiest turtleneck trends.
J.Crew has been a long time favorite of mine. While I admit since I've started freelancing, I haven't been quite as dedicated of a customer as usual (hellooooo sweatpants!), I still am constantly on their site perusing the new collections and my favorite staples. I was a bit surprised, but then really not so much, when I saw the announcement that they are now selling at Nordstrom. The brand's last few seasons haven't been their best, so one might argue that it is a move to improve sales, but also it's worth noting that their sister company, Madewell, has sold at Nordstrom for a while now, so it might just be a move to unify the sales models. Either way, they are still one of my favorite brands and places to shop.
If you had a relatively normal childhood, most of the wintery special occasion dresses you wore were big, puffy and velvet. Red and green velvet at Christmas time, black or brown velvet for grown up parties and your favorite princess dresses at halloween also came in velvet. It was everywhere. Little did we know when we were spilling spaghettios on our pretty velvet dresses that this luxe fabric has finally made it back into our closets.
If you are a Fall girl like me, you are counting the days to cooler weather, which brings with it sweaters, boots, scarves, and everything that is wonderful in this world. Even though it's still 80 degrees out, the temps are at least going down now, so there's hope that one day we will stop living in a giant sauna, here in Michigan. Now is also the time of year when summer clothing, accessories and shoes sales go on steroids. Retailers start trying to clear the decks to make room for the new fall arrivals, which typically hit stores early to mid August. This is tricky because you have all of the shiny, new fall trends to drool over, but anything summer is way the hell on sale, and you'd rather eat your own arm than pass on that adorable crop top at 60% off.
Back in 2012 when my hubby and I were getting hitched, I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted a makeup artist or not. I was pretty good at doing my own makeup, proud, in fact, for how far I'd come since my Drew Carey Show, Mimi days. Then, I came across Erick Gerson. He came highly recommended and was very responsive to emails and questions that I had, which is and was important me. I checked out his website and portfolio and I was very impressed with his work, so I booked him, and as you can guess, this is where our story begins. Let me introduce you all to the man, the legend and the makeup that is Erick Gerson Rodriguez.
I am happy to say that my Daily Look Elite Box was a grand improvement over the Stitch Fix box I received. The clothes were higher quality, much more on-trend and my style, and really just a tad bit more than the Stitch Fix selections. They actually have their own label, which they don't make very obvious, especially when you order the Elite Box, but you can browse their own label here from their Shop page. It's a little irritating that they keep this somewhat hidden because, just like Stitch Fix's exclusive labels, you have no way to compare the prices.