Updating Your Accessories Wardrobe for Back to School: My Favorite Jewelry Line

So if you follow me on Instagram, you know I just turned 34! And every year after my birthday, I get into full-on school mode. It’s like my kickstart to preparing for the upcoming school year. I first prepare my wardrobe (clothes, shoes, accessories) so I’m not getting upset that I don’t have anything to wear (#priorities).

I start by purging what I don’t wear anymore. But I have noticed that the pieces in my accessories wardrobe that have true staying power in my closet are Stella and Dot pieces. Now some argue that Stella and Dot pieces are pricey, but when I think about it, those are the pieces I’m still wearing years later. You get what you pay for in this case.

Many of you know I used to be a Stella and Dot stylist, but I decided last year that I wanted to focus solely on LuLaRoe. I still truly believe in the product and wear it all the time!

So in the spirit of accessory wardrobe updating, I thought I’d show you some of tried and true favorites!

My Staples

THE REBEL PENDANT

A quick browsing of my Instagram shows you that this is my go-to staple necklace. I have both gold and silver. I have worn this necklace for literally five years. It is so slimming and flattering and looks great with dresses, tops, anything really! I would totally pay this price for something I knew I’d wear for years! And I have!

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ESSENTIAL FRINGE NECKLACE

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I reach for this gold fringe necklace all the time! It is my go-to gold statement necklace. I love it because it creates a statement but also looks very classy and sophisticated. I also like to layer a colorful necklace on top of it. This pink one is actually also a Stella and Dot piece that is not longer available, but that just shows you I’m still getting a ton of wear out of my older pieces!

BRACELET STACKS

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One of my favorite ways to add interest and edge to my look is through bracelet stacks. I absolutely LOVE the various options Stella and Dot has to vary shine, hue, and texture for a one-of-a-kind look in your arm party.

Here are some of my favorite bracelets to layer. These are ones I actually currently own:

Renegade Cluster Bracelet

Arrison Stretch Bracelet

Gilded Path Wrap Bracelet – Hematite

Illuminate Cuff

Addison Cuff

GETAWAY BAG

I don’t travel often anymore, but when I would stay in Illinois for the weekend when I was living in Iowa, this was my go-to bag! It unzips for even more room for more shoes or whatever your thing is that you overpack! I am planning on taking this bag to Vegas early next month. The print got me. It’s absolutely beautiful, not to mention well-made. I don’t buy travel bags very often, and I know this one will serve me well for years to come.

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HUDSON TOTE – MEDIUM

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I love this tote so much. The perforated detailing is on point, and I love the subtle touches of gold. This is a perfect size for a mom and would be a great option for work as well, depending on your job! When I go back to work, I will be carrying this one for sure!

CITY SLIM CLUTCH

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I don’t have the need for too many clutches in my wardrobe, but when I need a clutch for date night or a wedding, this one has served me well. And I wear black all day, every day, so it’s the perfect color for me. But you already knew that!

And here are some pieces I’m hoping to add to my wardrobe!

My Wishlist

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Daytripper Bag – Black/Cream Stripe

I love this bag for teaching! Since I’m an English teacher, I will need a bag that zips so my papers aren’t constantly falling out. Most budget-friendly work totes do not hold up for me, and this one has definitely caught my eye!

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Signature Engravable Delicate Necklace – gold

I have wanted this one for at least a year. I am still trying to decide what I want engraved on it, but one idea I had is a meaningful Bible verse. Another idea is my kids’ initials (because they both have the same initials).

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Pave Triangle Path Ear Climber in Hematite

How fun are these? I typically gravitate toward studs, but I love the detail (and of course that they’re black…)

So many more things have caught my eye, and I am carefully making my wishlist! Will keep you updated!

Order Your Own

I have an online trunk show open right now if one or a few of these pieces have caught your eye. I would very much appreciate you shopping with me if you’ve found my tips helpful! Shop my link HERE. It will be open until August 3!

Tell me what you think! What Stella and Dot pieces are you loving right now?

 

 

Strategic Accessorizing

I love clothes. I love accessories. I love shopping. I love shoes. I could go on, but I really haven’t shared any secrets with you there. It’s probably pretty obvious to you if I run a small clothing business and blog about style! But as I get older and more experienced in buying pieces that speak directly to my personal style and work for my body type, I realize how important key accessories are to a well-rounded closet.

And accessories should work to bring something new to your outfit. Essentially, they should work for you, not just be there, if you know what I mean. They should add interest, highlight a certain feature, speak to one aspect of your personal style…you get the point. I used to buy accessories just because I liked them, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I encourage you to really think about what that particular accessory you’re debating over can do for you and for your wardrobe.

Enter a structured jacket. I strongly feel that every woman should own a few for every occasion she might dress for…even if they’re budget-friendly. No need to splurge on these, as I’ve found some of my favorites at GAP, Old Navy, and Forever 21.

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I really like a fitted structured jacket, even in the summer. There is a 99 percent chance I am cold in any given environment, so I almost always have a jacket with me.

What does a structured jacket do for me?

It calls attention to my smaller upper body. I am a classic pear shape (smaller on top, heavier on the bottom).

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It balances out flowy or oversized pieces. My favorite LuLaRoe dress to wear in the summer is the Carly. The flowiness and comfortable factor are hard to beat. To me, it’s way more comfortable than a t-shirt and shorts. But if I’m not careful with my accessorizing, my frame can get lost in the dress. A jean jacket + Carly is my go-to spring/summer look.

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It can speak to my personal style. My most recent purchase is the OLD NAVY DISTRESSED DENIM JACKET, which is sold out in most sizes. And I’m not surprised because it is very flattering and well-made for the price point. I chose this one to speak to my trendy/edgy side with the various rips and holes in it. I know distressed pieces aren’t for everyone, but I pretty much live in them!

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Jacket: Old Navy Distressed Denim Jacket (size small), Dress: LuLaRoe Carly (size XS), Booties: Groopdealz/Qupid brand, Purse: REBECCA MINKOFF

I will be the first to admit that I buy my jackets tight. I don’t have a lot of wiggle room in mine, but it’s for a reason. I buy a small in most of my jackets because I have found that when I don’t go fitted, my jackets end up adding bulk to my frame or make me look boxy. That is definitely something to pay attention to when you’re shopping for a jacket.

 

Unique Accessorizing on a Budget

Hey there! I’m sure you’ve been like me and stared in your jewelry closet, thinking Ugh…I’m bored by all of these pieces. The reality is, updating your accessories (on a budget, of course) really helps to breathe new life into some of your staple wardrobe pieces.

One of my favorite ways to shop for budget-friendly jewelry is from boutiques, usually on GROOPDEALZ or JANE. When you sign up for free, you get daily emails alerting you about daily deals. I’ve been purchasing from these websites for years and have been rarely disappointed.

Another budget-friendly option is FRANCESCA’S, especially with a discount or a buy one, get one half off deal.

Boutique jewelry, though, is a way to add budget-friendly jewelry to your closet, and by not purchasing from a big box store, you are almost ensuring no one else is going to be wearing that exact same necklace.

My friends at TWIRL BOUTIQUE in Cedar Falls, Iowa, are offering my blog readers two necklace options at a GREAT discount. Both are tassel necklaces, which are so trendy right now.

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This ROCK NECKLACE is the perfect neutral necklace to add to your wardrobe in gray and gold. And at only $15 (with FREE SHIPPING using the code HEATHER), it will more than pay for itself by the number of times you will wear it.

Another daintier option is the MINT AND GOLD TASSEL NECKLACE. It is only $10 and comes with a pair of gold stud earrings, another accessory staple! I think this necklace is a great option for summer, especially, when we are wearing tanks, sundresses, etc. The lighter weight in this necklace lends itself to better balance in a summer look.

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What a great necklace option with a basic tee and shorts combo for summer. Here I paired it with a LuLaRoe Classic Tee in neutral grays and blue. 

With both necklaces, you can use the code “HEATHER” for free shipping! Happy shopping!

*I was provided with two free necklaces in exchange for this post, though all opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

 

Things that Make You Go Hmmm…

Happy glorious Sunday, my friends! You know why mine is even more glorious? I have a three-day weekend! I plan on doing glamourous things like grocery shopping and getting caught up on laundry, but you know…

Today’s post is all about questions I’m mulling over, and since I love cheesy ’90s music, hence the title.

How do I make my wardrobe/my look in general fun again?

I have been pretty silent on Instagram because I have really been in a style rut myself. I actually hold myself to a high standard in my style 1. because I know how much more confident I feel every day when I put together a look that is in line with my personal style and 2. since I own a LuLaRoe business, I think that’s the least I could do, to be offering my customers some advice in how to style their pieces.

As we have discussed in previous blog posts, though, Instagram can be a trap where “style inspiration” turns to “envy/jealousy,” so I actually start looking for inspiration in my own old pictures.

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This is a look I love, and best of all, it’s one I put together with pieces I already own. I am actually going to try to find another utility vest in another versatile color. I haven’t seen anything at Target lately, so I may branch out to other stores, which isn’t really like me. HA. And to be honest, I forgot I used to do my hair in this braided topknot, too, so SCORE. I know having a style Instagram account isn’t for everyone, but my advice to you today is when you really feel like you nail it in your look, have someone take your picture. Save it to your phone, put all of those fashion successes in a little folder, and look back at them for inspiration! I obviously put myself out there and have my @rockstyleteach Instagram account, so that’s where my pictures go!

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Here is my latest look. I was wondering if LuLaRoe would be adding more spring/lightweight Sarah cardigans to the mix as the seasons change, and then I got this beautiful peach one. Question answered. My sister Ashley and I have this running joke about how much black we wear, so it’s a no-brainer than I paired my peach Sarah cardigan with a black and white Amelia dress and black booties. These Target booties were $35 back in October, and I’ve definitely gotten my wear out of them.

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My daughter Johanna will be 3 next month, and I got to spend the morning + afternoon with her at my sister-in-law’s bridal shower. Her personality is definitely changing from mild, meek, and sensitive to sassy and opinionated. Case in point: our argument over her dress. She wanted this other dress from Target that I had “meh” feelings about, and I wanted this one. She “vocalized” her displeasure when I put her dress back in favor of this one, but somehow I got her to come over to my side. I think I offered to take her to look at shoes. HA. She also loves booties, and she is starting to tell me how she wants her hair fixed. Her hair is REALLY long for her age, but it is still very fine, so braids don’t hold as well. She asked for “Elsa,” so I braided down one side of her face and gathered all of her hair into a side pony.

By the way, I think I have found the perfect pastel blue nail color: OPI It’s a Boy.

Why do I buy all the booties?

I am an ankle boots addict, and I just calculated last week…I wear them 7 days a week… ha ha. Here’s why. They are the perfect transitional shoe. I can wear them to work, to grocery shop, to church…basically whenever and wherever (Shakira song just popped in my head…). I read this blog post recently about pointless things we moms used to do before we had kids, and I laughed out loud when one of them on the list was “fix our hair.” That is the one problem I have in the morning…I would rather spend my time on my make-up and outfit, not my hair. But what I don’t have to spend my time on is picking out just the right shoe. I have a closet full of ankle boots that will look great with anything I would wear.

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Here is the latest edition to my ankle boot family (which is growing into Duggar-like proportions)…but my question is, who DOESN’T need pink cut-out ankle booties?! These are currently on Groopdealz for one more day in several different colors.

Do I need a bomber jacket?

You know structured jackets hold a special place in my wardrobe, and now that bomber jackets are so trendy, I am contemplating adding one to my closet. I think the LuLaRoe Julia dress would look SO cute with a bomber jacket, and so would a Cassie skirt. I don’t like to overly spend on trendy pieces, so I will be looking at Forever 21 in the $20-30 range.

Should I try this Estee Lauder foundation?

I am pretty much married to Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation (have been wearing it for about 3 years maybe?), but I am hearing SO much about Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup. I am almost out of foundation, so I am seriously considering trying it because I have read so many good reviews. I will never buy foundation online when I haven’t been properly color matched yet, so I will most likely be heading into Sephora soon. I tried Ulta a few days ago, but my local Ulta did not carry this one in-store. If I had to guess, I would guess the “Ecru” shade for me, so it will be fun to see if I am right. I wear “Light Neutral” in Tarte.

Can I run eight miles without serious injury by April 1? 

After stalking the Garmin Forerunner 230 on Amazon for two months, I saw it dip down below $200 the other day, and I snagged one. I would really like to get serious about running again with the weather change, and I wanted a GPS watch that would help me calculate distances/pace, etc. My friend Dannette loves hers, and after asking her a billion questions about it, I took the plunge. I am still testing it out, as I haven’t even had it for a week, but I will report back very soon. I have my eye on a local race…it’s eight miles…I can run 4-5 decently comfortably right now, so I am wondering if I push myself and try to do eight in less than a month. One time I tried to overextend myself (I was doing 3 miles comfortably and thought I could do a 10K race), and it did not end well. I got nauseous and overheated (it was in early September) and sadly had to walk some. It was embarrassing, to be honest, so I am trying to be overly careful yet set lofty but reasonable goals for myself.

Much Needed Radio Silence (in a Cropped Leather Jacket, Celebrating Lady Gaga)

Social media is a quicksand pit of comparison. It is no secret to anyone who knows me extremely well that I fall into the comparison trap quite easily. I don’t like this unbecoming quality, but I won’t deny it anymore. All over social media platforms, I realize what I am not. And that’s why I need social media + blogger radio silence from time to time.

I have always tolerated certain aspects of myself that I’m not all that excited about, but putting yourself out there as a blogger and on social media opens you up to all sorts of icky feelings and thoughts. For one, it makes me realize, yet again, what I’m not.

When I come out of these funks, though, I have some sort of weird pride about the person I’m not. Examples?

  1. My Instagram pictures are what I can take in a one-to-two-minute time frame before I pick up my kids from preschool. No professional photographer. My tripod and I have a date most days of the week.
  2. My hair is in a frizzy mom bun a lot of times because I choose extra sleep or extra cuddle time with my babies, who are EARLYYYYY risers.
  3. I don’t have clear skin most of the time.
  4. I overdo it on carbs on the daily.
  5. Three years later, I still have a slight hint of a mom pooch situation.
  6. The number I see on the scale would seem astronomical to the same people who tell me, you’re really thin.
  7. There are aspects of my teaching job that, even after ten years on the job, don’t come easily to me.
  8. I wear braces at age 33.

I could go on, but you get the point.

I have struggled a bit lately in confidently stepping into whom I was created to be. I am a work in progress in this area and have been my entire life. But Lady Gaga resurfaced recently to remind me that my self-deprecating thoughts are trash.

My “way back” friends and my family know I had a slight Lady Gaga obsession when she rose to popularity, and I think it was because she was so different and didn’t care. And that’s precisely THE THING I’ve never been able to be. Different without care. I have always been slightly unconventional in most areas of my life. One example? While every teenage girl was crushing hard on Justin Timberlake (in his *NSYNC days), I was crushing hard on Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit?! Do we remember?!). You know how girls used to put pictures of their crushes in their lockers? Yeah, I so did that with his picture on the cover of Guitar World. And that is just one example. But back to Gaga.

At first I was a little underwhelmed with her Super Bowl performance because there weren’t any big surprises. But then I thought about Gaga for the rest of the night and started playing her music again. I have never been the biggest fan of “Born This Way,” but for the last three days, I have really listened to it, like really listened about 15 times, to the lyrics. Sure, there are others who struggle with identity issues I cannot fathom, but as Cherry Valance (and Ponyboy) say in The Outsiders, “Things are rough all over.” (I share that quote with my seventh graders on the daily…so much truth.)

We all have our struggles. But we can embrace how we are uniquely made. That’s what Gaga meant. LIGHT BULB MOMENT for a 33-year-old suburban mom of two. That song is for me, too. Admittedly, I laughed at the line, Same DNA, but born this way. If you have ever seen a line-up of my sisters and me, it’s like, one of these is not like the others… HA. My build and my height are just completely different, and I have regrettably spent a lot of time groaning about it. I admit that being 33 and having insecurity issues is less than endearing, but you know what? Here are mine. And I struggle with them ALL.THE.TIME.

And while we are on the topic of struggles…the Instagram thing. Building a following on Instagram is like the ultimate trap of comparison. Why? Well, I used to get really discouraged when my amount of likes weren’t there or my number of new followers began to dwindle. And I am sitting right around 2,300, which is like a drop in the bucket compared to the bigger bloggers. AND THAT’S OK. I want to grow my audience ORGANICALLY. It’s important to me. And while we are on this tangent, for GOODNESS SAKE, why are people doing the FOLLOW and UNFOLLOW thing?! That is just disturbing to me. Sure, that last comment may offend some, but I need to say it. We can build each other up on social media rather than play these weird mind games. I had a company reach out to me recently offering me more followers and likes, “based on [its] policy of following and unfollowing.” WHAAAAT. That is so wrong. I’m sorry. I have ladies daily who will follow and unfollow me. For your sake and mine, please just don’t. Let’s celebrate and follow those who offer us something of value, encouragement, or lightheartedness, not play this silly game with one another. I bless you all in your fashion blogging endeavors. But let’s not do this following and unfollowing thing, as I firmly believe it is beneath you.

Like Shakespeare sometimes does, now that we have discussed something kind of tense, let’s balance it with something light-hearted and fun!

I think a cropped leather jacket is a wardrobe must. Truth be told, I have had this jacket for almost 7 years, and it still feels fresh and relevant in my wardrobe! Now black leather isn’t for everyone, but think about what colors speak to you and your wardrobe. I love balancing the cropped jacket with a longer, flowy top like the LuLaRoe Perfect Tee (wearing an XS). This leather jacket is from The Limited (RIP), but you can snag budget-friendly ones at Target or Express.

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So when thoughts and opinions and ideas rattle around in my head, I love to purge them in a blog post. Next time, we may get back to our regularly scheduled programming. Love and blessings, my friends.