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?

 

 

Why Living (and Dressing) Intentionally Works for Me

In this season of life I’m currently in, I find myself having to weed unnecessary tasks out of my day. I simply don’t have time to do it all, and I don’t know about you…but my daily to-do list gets about 20 percent done on a good day. The unfortunate part of reaching this epiphany is that since I’m not working this summer, I think about my limitations and those things I’ve weeded out all day, every day…

I’m a thinker, and I really excel at overanalyzing. Not cool most of the time. When I’m teaching, this aspect of my personality serves me well, as I am able to reflect on what went right that day and how to fix what wasn’t super successful. But when my mind can’t use my overanalyzing tendencies to focus on something productive, this aspect of my personality isn’t as desirable. I have spent many of my summer days struggling with that simple fact: I can’t do it all. I think back to the days after I graduated high school (more often than I’d like to admit, actually), at a time when I had little to no experience adulting, when I thought that I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, at any given point in time because I was finally FREE. That is like SOOOOO funny, right? I had this idyllic view of life, and not to sound all Debbie Downer, but life just isn’t really that way. Like at all. But I am learning as I go not to be bitter about that reality but rather thankful and grateful for the people and experiences that make my life what it is.

Now I think I’m at the point where I want to start discovering what I need and what I want to make time for. And oddly enough, I have the same views on my closet. My summer days used to be spent shopping for every little jacket, accessory, pair of shoes, etc., I saw on Instagram and “needed.” Then my closet was full of pieces that I would never wear and that worked for others in terms of their personal style but not really mine. Now don’t get me wrong…I still love to shop, but I find myself being more intentional about it, I guess.

One of my requirements for clothes, as many of you who follow my blog know, is that if a top cannot be worn for multiple occasions, I probably don’t need it. One such top that is the ultimate multi-tasker for me is the LuLaRoe Perfect Tee.

Date night: I love styling a printed Perfect Tee with neutral and classic accessories (pendant necklace, skinny jeans, peep toe booties) for a nice blend of trendy and timeless.

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Top: LuLaRoe Perfect Tee (size XS), Pendant Necklace: Francesca’s (a few months old), Jeans: American Eagle jeggings, Shoes: Groopdealz (Qupid brand)

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And here is another date night look appropriate for early spring or fall. I just simply added a leather jacket and lace-up flats for the same effect that’s seasonally appropriate.

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School: I am a high school English teacher, and I love the same Perfect Tee for a day of teaching. I have paired the same Perfect Tees I wear out on a casual date night to school in a very similar way. I have also worn one over a Julia dress to work and loved the combo.

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Sizing and Fit: The Perfect Tee is fitted in the arms and features a scoopneck, which is flattering to many body types. It is fitted in the chest area and floats away from the body in an A-line shape. It also features slits on each side so the top floats effortlessly away from the hip area, a place where many women carry a good amount of their weight.

Perfect Tees run 1-2 sizes large. I am typically a small in LuLaRoe pieces that run true to size (Sarah cardigan, Julia dress, Randy tee, etc.), but in Perfect Tees, I typically wear an XS, which fits sizes 4-10.

If you need a Perfect Tee, I would love to be not only your favorite blogger but also your LuLaRoe Retailer (wink wink). Please join my Facebook VIP Shopping Group, where I talk about styling your LuLaRoe and hold weekly sales.

Thanks for reading, friends! Chat again soon!

Summertime for a Teacher

My summer has officially started as of today, and while there is an overwhelming feeling of YAY-ness, there is also some work that has to be done behind the scenes so the next three months run smoothly.

Today I’m writing the post I wanted to read about five years back when I was spending my first summer at home as a mother. You may or may not agree with everything I have to offer here, but I can tell you with certainty that what is written here is rooted in life experience, good and bad.

A lot of you know this about me already, but I quit teaching for one year to stay at home with my two kids. It was the 2014-2015 school year. Jackson was almost three, and Johanna was a few months old. I was tired of the hustle and bustle. I wanted a day or two (or 365) to look my babies in the face and really get to know them, learn their quirks, be there for them in this important developmental stage. Also, I was really burned out on the teaching profession at the time. Oh, did I mention that I was five and a half hours away from ANYONE I knew when I decided to make this drastic life change?

SUPER long story short, I quickly realized staying at home was not for me. I was very unhappy being in isolation, and although there was some good to come out of that short stint (I got Jackson potty trained in like two days – like a boss… or Johanna is now a Mommy’s girl – WOO HOO), I knew for the betterment of so many aspects of my life, I needed to go back to work. So I did, and I can say, though it doesn’t always run smoothly, we four are all happier now that Mommy went back to work.

Please, if you hear nothing else from this post, do not judge a mom because she finds fulfillment working outside of the home, just as you shouldn’t judge a mom for finding fulfillment for being at home. We are all wired differently and created to do different work. That brings me to summertime…

Part of what I love about choosing teaching for my career is that the crazy life stops for about three months. I get to soak up time with my family and be more present. However, each summer I have been home with my kids has looked a little different. I have been the over-the-top-annoying “follow a schedule on the hour, every hour” Mom, the “ehhh, let’s just hang” Mom, and everything in between. As a teacher, though, I have realized that because I thrive under some sort of routine, we need it in our summer lives, too. But part of what makes summer so flippin’ great is that the routine can be thrown out on any given day. It really is about finding your balance, and I am including some tips today that will help you navigate your summer so it’s enjoyable for you, too, not just for your kids.

1. Try to put yourself together every day.

At the risk of sounding like I’m writing for a women’s magazine published in the 1950s, I am totally serious, actually. When I was staying home, I would crave going places because that meant I could actually fix myself up (make-up, hair, a decently put-together outfit). It made me feel like me. Now I know “fix yourself up” holds a different meaning for each of you reading this post, but find whatever makes you feel like yourself and do that. For me, it was putting on make-up, fixing my hair, and wearing a styled outfit.

2. Experiment with your fashion and beauty looks.

You know how you are always running late for work, and though you really want to try that one thing you saw on Pinterest with your hair, you’re afraid of it looking like trash? Try it in the summer! Experiment with make-up. Experiment with fashion. Honestly, if you’re a teacher, it’s really freeing to know you can experiment and know you’re not going to be standing in front of children/teenagers all day. That’s how your style grows, when you extend yourself out beyond what makes you feel comfortable to really know inside what is uniquely your look. Make a list of styles or looks you have wanted to try, and make it a goal to try them all at least once this summer.

3. Find a hobby (or two), and spend some time investing in what makes your soul happy. 

Yes, the summer is about your kids and soaking up that quality time, but it’s also time for you to refresh your soul, which is probably needing some TLC after the stresses of the end of the school year. For me, I enjoy style and fashion (obviously…), so I will work more on my LuLaRoe business and blogging! I also love to run, and I will be training for a half-marathon in August. Don’t just THINK about these hobbies; put them on your calendar! I use Google Calendar myself (just started, and it’s awesome), and I treat these hobbies very seriously. My workload got so heavy in May that I barely had time to run, but I really want my summer to be as much about me recharging my own battery as it is about spending time with my kiddos. I know it takes a lot of charging for me to operate at full capacity, and I don’t feel guilty about making some time for myself.

4. Try to have a plan (even if it’s tentative) for the day.

We cannot deny our teacher DNA: we love a plan. Right?! For many summers, I wondered why I felt so down, so sad, so bleh…it was because I wasn’t respecting how God made me! God made me to thrive in some type of routine and to get excited about conquering a to-do list. And that doesn’t automatically turn off in the summer!

I try to wake up at least 30 minutes before everyone in my house so I can sketch out our daily plan and enjoy a cup of coffee while doing it. I used to laugh at moms who did this (yeah, right…who would do that willingly?), but now I seriously don’t function as well when I don’t have “brain dump” time. I take out a cute notebook that is just for me and write down what I need to do that day, that week, whatever the case may be. I write down goals and tasks and get great joy and satisfaction from crossing them off the list. Yeah, I’m also strange, so there’s that…

5. Hire child care. 

I felt like utter and total trash speaking it out loud when I was staying at home. But I was saying it over and over in my head. I need a break!!!!! I absolutely adore my children, but I am not going to act like I don’t need reinforcements.

Hire a baby-sitter. Ask family. Whatever works best for you. A break from Mommy is a wonderful thing for your kiddos as well. Then you are all excited to see each other when you return! I will be taking my kids two days a week to daycare so we can keep our spots, and we also (THANKFULLY!!!!) have family close by. But find someone you trust to care for your babies so you can do whatever…grocery shop, shoe shop, whatever.

Here’s how I followed my own tips today:

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I LOVE the leggings and tennis shoes combo, but for obvious reasons, it’s not work appropriate. I am going to experiment with my casual spring/summer look, and today I wore a LuLaRoe Randy top (size small) with the coveted black one size leggings. CLICK HERE to snag your own Randy top and leggings in my VIP Shopping Group!

I tied a chambray button down around my waist to highlight my waist and to give me the desired coverage while wearing said leggings. Chambray is such a good neutral that pairs so well with other neutrals. I am OBSESSED with THESE ADIDAS SNEAKERS from DSW. They will be perfect for Casual Friday going into the school year as well.

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I absolutely LOVE the half topknot, but I feel like it only works for casual wear, if you ask me. I would feel kinda weird wearing this style to work, but to each her own! I spent some time getting it right this morning, and thankfully, I ended up with something decent! About two months ago, I had the balayage treatment done to my hair, and I am loving how funky the dark roots look in this style.

I also tried false eyelashes today. You obviously can’t tell in the picture, but I bought some e.l.f ones from Target (3 sets and glue for $5) yesterday and put them on today. I AM IN LOVE AND MAY NEVER NOT WEAR LASHES. Ha ha. I have considered getting eyelash extensions, but when I figured out how long it takes and the cost, I’m going to pass for now…

And if you’re following me on Instagram, you have heard about my daughter Johanna and her budding fashionista personality. Today she chose a zip-up sweatshirt with a maxi skirt and hi-top Converse, which actually kinda worked. Here is a little behind-the-scenes look into my glamorous photo shoots. My five-year-old son is behind the camera…

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Have a great week! Chat with you soon!

Backpack Purses: Yay or Nay?

Trends. They work for some. They don’t work for others. We as women spend some (OK…quite a bit) of time (be honest!) trying to figure out if they work for us. They sometimes make moms in their 30s think, Am I too old for this? Or is that just me? One such trend making me think a bit (but I’ve seen it pretty much everywhere) is the mini-backpack as a purse.

When I first saw this trend, I thought back to my junior high self…I had this backpack purse from KMart that was navy blue twill…and semi-tragic, but so is pretty much everyone’s fashion sense in junior high. But what keeps me coming back to this trend is practicality. I am lugging around a heavy tote right now, and while I love the look of a tote, I am dreaming of the freedom a backpack presents to a mom of little ones, one of which isn’t potty-trained.

My ultimate dream backpack purse is the Rebecca Minkoff Medium Julian Backpack…however, before I drop over $200 on this bag, I need to decide if a backpack purse works for my lifestyle (working mom of two, part-time business owner, etc.). So I ventured over to Target to try their budget-friendly backpack options. I tried three options.

Option 1: Zippered Flap Backpack

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I was most intrigued by this one because it most closely resembles the RM Julian that I love. I loved the size of it and the zipper detail that (to me) makes it look more like a purse versus a random backpack you pulled out of your closet and tried to pass off as a purse. At first, I wasn’t sold on the tan color. But then I thought about how I’m always telling myself that my next spring purse will be a light neutral, and white isn’t a great option for a mom.

Option 2: Mini Backpack Handbag with Zip Closure

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I really liked the detailing in this one. I liked the simplicity of it and its shape. However, I think for what I need to carry on the daily, it would be too small. I thought with my frame (I’m 5’11”), too, the backpack looked too tiny.

Option 3: Mini Flap Backpack

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This one was my least favorite. I felt like the quality wasn’t as impressive in this one as it was in the other two. I didn’t like the drawstring opening, either, though I did like the zipper detail down the sides of the bag.

All of the bags I tried were under $30, which is a decent price to spend on something trendy. Since I’m not 100 percent convinced I can rock a backpack purse, I will stick with the Target option for now, but I am definitely open to saving my pennies for a designer option down the line.

So what was the verdict? I went with option 1 due to its size and detailing! I will report back soon and let you know how that backpack life is going! Have a relaxed Sunday and a blessed week!

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.