Redbook Gets a Makeover…And Features Some Great Fashion Finds

Looking for a new fashion read? Check out Redbook's makeover and the fun and affordable fashion and decor items the magazine is featuring now.

Looking for a new fashion read? Check out Redbook’s makeover and the fun and affordable fashion and decor items the magazine is featuring now.

So, a few months ago I got a little surprise in my mailbox in the form of Redbook magazine. I’ll admit, I’ve never been a reader of the magazine because honestly, the cover never really looked that interesting and I just didn’t think the target reader was someone in my demographic (for some reason I always felt like the magazine skewed towards a more mature audience). But a few months ago I started receiving complimentary copies for no reason and I started reading the magazine because I’m always desperate for anything to read when trying to pass the time on the treadmill. So I read a couple of issues when they came but didn’t think that I would ever actually want to subscribe. Then came the April issue a few weeks ago – along with a complete redesign – (now the complimentary copies all started to make sense…) and I have to say, I love it! Apparently, the magazine listened to its readers and decided to institute a giant makeover from cover to cover. Included in that makeover was an amped up focus on fashion and style and the commitment to featuring more amazing apparel and home items priced under $50. The result is great features and content that I’m actually interested in and some fantastic fashion and decor finds that fit my budget. See below for a run-down of some of my favorite items from this new Redbook. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next issue to see what they come up with next. Enjoy!

Fashion Under $50

Simply Vera Vera Wang Pintuck Georgette Top (Kohl’s – On sale for $30) – A pretty little sleeveless top that could be worn in a variety of ways – for work under a blazer or with a pencil skirt, for a wedding shower with white ankle pants and heels, or for more casual activities with boyfriend jeans and funky jewelry.

Tweed Love 21 Jacket (Forever 21 – $37) – A multi-colored tweed jacket (like a modern and incredibly inexpensive Chanel jacket) perfect for work or dressed down for a weekend night out.

Navy Eyelet Dress (Old Navy – On sale now for $25) – This is a super cute and classic-looking dress that could work well for so many summer functions. I love the navy but it comes in several other colors as well and you can’t beat the price. Dressed up with fun accessories it could be a great go-to dress for summer your wardrobe.

Home Under $100

Small Wire Side Table (Target – $59.99) – This could be really great with a few small accessories perched on top and a nice break from the norm if most of your furniture is more traditional.

White Studded Pillow (Bed Bath and Beyond – $39.99) – While this may not be a great pillow to lay your head on, I do love the texture and interest it could add a room.

1 Dream Room, 14 Real Ideas

Mid-Century Style Club Chairs (Sears – $195/pair) – These aren’t my usual style but I really like them and for the price they can’t be beat.

Joe Fresh at JCP

Hello, All! Happy March! I don’t know about you, but I am so ready for spring. Could this winter be any longer? Ugh! Here’s to hoping sunshine and nicer weather are on the way soon. In the meantime, I thought I would post about a new-ish fashion brand coming to a JCP (that’s JC Penney) near you.

So, I’ve been seeing clothing from the Joe Fresh brand in my favorite fashion magazines for awhile now and I’ve been frustrated that the brand was only available in a few stores on the East Coast. Especially because it seemed like every time I would see an item featured it would be something super cute for a great price. The fact that you couldn’t even order anything online was really annoying and I kept wondering when this brand would be available to more of us fashion lovers. Well, I finally got to the bottom of the story when I recently saw an article about Joe Fresh apparel being sold in JC Penney stores starting this spring. Hooray! Apparently the brand is actually a Canadian brand but is now making its national debut here in the U.S. The brand sells on-trend women’s apparel around an Old Navy pricepoint. And as of just recently, the brand is now available for purchase online at http://www.jcp.com. with product available in stores very soon. I happened to be near a JC Penney in my area over the weekend actually so I stopped in and saw that they’re in the process of prepping the shop-in-shop space that Joe Fresh will occupy. I’m excited to see the clothes in person and I’m hoping that the quality doesn’t disappoint. I’m all about a bargain but hate to spend money on something that just plain looks cheap or will fall apart after a few wears. I’ll keep you all posted once I’ve seen the clothes in person, but in the meantime you can check them out online here. I’m especially loving this lace-front tee for $19 (I’ve seen something similar at J.Crew for probably three times the price), this embroidered shift dress for $49, these slim fit sateen pants for $29, and these slim fit color jeans for $19 (I love the yellow).

Enjoy!

Happy New Year! Let’s Get Organized!

Hello, All! Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 is off to a fantastic start for everyone out there. I can’t believe that another year is over already, but here we are starting the third week of January and speeding right ahead.

If you’re like me, a new year often brings the desire to tackle issues, projects and goals with renewed vigor. Some years the focus is on getting more fit, other years efforts might be targeted towards career growth and exploring new paths. But for me this year my sights are set on getting more organized. Last year was largely about selling our old house – finishing up small repairs and projects to prep it for sale, making sure the house was clean and neat for each showing, evaluating offers, and then navigating our way through the final negotiation and eventual sale. Once that was all done, we then packed all of our belongings and moved to a teeny apartment to wait things out while we searched for a new home. Well, we’re now going on 4 months in that teeny apartment with no new home in sight and my patience is starting to grow thin. We’ve crammed way too much stuff into this tiny little place and I’ve never once felt organized since we moved in. To add to the craziness, we’ve got a deadline as Baby Arens #2 is due at the end of May. Eeek! The thought of bringing a new baby home to this cramped and crowded apartment is not appealing at all. Call it nesting, call it whatever you like, but as the new year has started I have an overwhelming desire to get moved, get settled and GET ORGANIZED. I cannot wait to have more space for our growing family and to be able to spread out a little – to have a space for everything and to put everything in its place. Whew!

So, while we wait for the real estate market to pick up and for more homes to come rolling out, I’m using the time to plan ahead. I’m busy picking out wall colors, planning out what furniture can be used where, and making lists of new items we’ll need. I’ve been doing lots of research online to give me inspiration and along the way I’ve come across a great blog, I Heart Organizing, focused entirely on being organized that I thought I would pass along in case any of you are feeling the itch to get organized as well. The writer behind the blog is a mother to three young boys and it’s insane how crazy organized her home is. I know I’ll never reach that level of organization, but even a quarter of it would be a welcome thing at this point! It’s really been a lot of fun to search around this blog and get some great ideas for our new home. This blogger covers organizing tips for every room in the house and every aspect of life – from managing schedules, to keeping toys and clutter at bay, to keeping an organized clothes closet (something any fashionista can love). And she does it all with super cute style – no plain manila folders or boring-looking storage units here. Everything she does is with style in mind and I can definitely appreciate that. I know that I’ll be much more likely to use something if it’s aesthetically pleasing. I don’t know why it matters what a file folder looks like, but a hot pink patterned file folder is just more fun than a black one.

So if you’re feeling like me in this new year and have the need to get organized, check out I Heart Organizing, you definitely won’t be disappointed. I know as we move forward with a home purchase (hopefully soon!!) I’ll be referring to this site again and again for more ideas. Organized 2013, here I come!

Happy New Year, All!

I Heart Fall

This graphic heart sweater from J.Crew has been a favorite of mine this fall. Looking for some similar? Check out a few options below.

Okay, so yes, I realize that it’s almost Thanksgiving and that fall is pretty much in the rearview mirror now, but I so wanted to get a great post up about fall fashion this year and it just didn’t happen. Between selling our house, moving to a temporary apartment, trying to get settled, and searching for a new home, my thoughts on fashion this fall just never made it into writing. Boo!

Ah well…. In any case, before we officially move on to winter and the holiday season I thought I would at least post something fun from this fall – – and put a plug in for fun graphic sweaters in the process. As you can see from the photo above, my family and I did manage to make it out to a pumpkin patch and cider mill one afternoon this fall and of course I had to wear something fun and festive for the occasion – – enter in J. Crew’s super cute heart sweater. I actually found this one at the J. Crew Factory store earlier this fall and I believe it was on sale for about $45. It’s been a great addition to my closet and has helped to up the fun factor in a few different outfits. You can go casual like I am in the photo with boyfriend jeans and a vest or jean jacket, but I’ve also loved incorporating this sweater into more dressy looks as well. I think if you work in a creative or less formal environment you can definitely make it office appropriate. I’ve paired it with a black button-down shirt, my black Minnie pants from J.Crew, and a pair of heels or cute flats and it’s worked really well to give a more traditional outfit a fun twist.

Unfortunately, this particular sweater is now sold out at J.Crew but I see they have a few new graphic sweaters that might fit the bill if this look is catching your eye. If you love the heart idea, then check out their new Heartbreaker sweater ($98) that is dotted with lots of smaller hearts instead of one big one (I like the version in dusk/navy). Or, if you’re feeling the graphic thing but just don’t want to look too cute-sy, try the Abstract Diamond sweater ($98). I really like this and can see wearing it for some fun winter activities – sledding, skating, or maybe just curled up with some hot chocolate? For some reason it seems sporty to me, not sure why, but it’s a great break from the norm and certainly catches the eye. For one last option – and admittedly, my favorite – the Giant Bow sweater is super cute and a fantastic option if you’re looking for something to carry you through the upcoming holidays. This sweater would be so perfect with a pair of velvet pants and heels for holiday parties and get-togethers. I love it in mist/black but the burgundy/black version could be just as striking as well.

So what are your thoughts on graphic sweaters? Love them? Leave them? Or any fall trends you were loving this year that you’ll be wearing into winter? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Anyway, that’s it from my end for now. I hope everyone had a fantastic fall and is ready for the holiday season. I know I’m ready for fun party outfits, good food and great friends! 🙂

Do you Baggu?

Check out Baggu’s reusable nylon bags to add some fun and style to your daily errands and outings.

So what’s Baggu, you say? I was asking myself that same question while reading a post over at Ain’t No Mom Jeans recently, but I did a little research and found out that Baggu is a brand that sells super cute and fun reusable nylon bags. Want to spruce up the bag your groceries come home in, or drop off your library books in style? Check out Baggu! If you peruse their web site you’ll see that their nylon bags come in three different sizes – – Baby Baggu, Baggu and Big Baggu – –  and loads of amazingly great colors! We’re talking everything from magenta, to saffron, to peacock! With a few prints and stripes thrown in there too. They’re super cute bags and inexpensive as well! Like $7-12 inexpensive, and if you buy more than one you get a discount on each! I’m so tempted to order a few of these but I know my husband will fall over if another tote bag-type item shows up at our house.

In addition to the nylon bags, Baggu also makes a variety of other really stylish bags in both leather and recycled canvas.  I really love the totes Baggu has made with a long strap great for carrying them across your body, and of course in an array of fantastic colors. What I like even more though are the leather clutches they offer – Baggu calls them pouches – that are simple but really chic. They don’t come in as many colors but I’m loving the platinum and the nutmeg.

So that’s Baggu. Definitely worth checking out. If you’re a J.Crew shopper you’ve probably seen Baggu’s nylon bags there as well – I just saw a line of them in the catalog and in store recently.

That’s it from my end, I hope everyone’s summer is wrapping up nicely. I cannot believe it’s already Labor Day weekend! So sad to see the summer go but excited for fall fashion, foods, and activities – – cider mill anyone? Here’s to a great long weekend and a smooth transition into fall!

Beach Tote Update

Check out my new beach tote from Ballard Designs – bring on the sun and sand!

Happy weekend, All! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. It’s a beautiful and sunny Friday evening here in my neighborhood and it has me dreaming of summer vacation so I thought it was the perfect time to give you all an update on my quest for a new beach tote. If you were reading a few months ago you know that I asked for everyone’s help in picking out a new beach tote before my Florida vacation back in February. Well, I got some great feedback and thoughts, but in the end I didn’t buy anything because things just got too hectic before we left and I didn’t have time to deal with it. But now that it’s June and our annual 4th of July week at my parents’ in Petoskey, Michigan, is coming up I knew I needed to make a purchase soon. So I did some thinking and finally decided to order a canvas tote from Ballard Designs. I’d had my eye on these for awhile now and finally just figured that I would give one a shot. So I picked out a large white canvas bag with leather straps and opted to get my monogram in black thread. In just a few days, my tote arrived and I love it! I think it’s super classic looking and I really like the monogram style I ended up choosing. The bag is large enough to fit lots of our beach gear and it has a zippered top which is nice. It also has a zippered pocket inside as well which will be super handy for my keys, phone, and other small items that I don’t want to lose at the bottom of my bag. While white may not have been the most practical choice for a beach bag, it’s what I really wanted and I figured that for the great price I got on the bag if it gets too dingy I can always get a new one. Speaking of the price, the large size bag I purchased retails for $39 and the monogramming is free. However, when I bought the bag the site was running a deal where all purchases were 15%, so I actually got the tote for about $33 – a great price for a fun and stylish bag that I’ll get a lot of use out of. I’ve even thought about buying a smaller version just to have for running errands, etc. Anyway, if you’re interested in checking out one of these for yourself, the bags come in 4 different colors – white, sand, lavendar and orange (looks more like terracotta), and two different sizes – medium and large.

So that’s the update on my new beach bag. I hope your summer plans are coming together nicely, here’s to sunshine, sand and good times! 🙂

 

 

 

Get those Tootsies Ready for Summer!

It’s pedicure season, people! Do you have a favorite nail polish color? I’m loving “My Chihuahua Bites” by OPI.

Hello, All! I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here – my apologies. The last few months have been an adjustment period as I started back to work on a part-time basis at the end of March. It’s been fun to get back out there, meet new people, and work on some cool new projects – but it’s left little time for blogging. On top of that, we’re now in the midst of trying to sell our house so that’s taken up a great deal of time as well. But today I’m feeling like I have two seconds of spare time so I thought it was the perfect time to pick back up with my posts on all things fashion and style. So here we go!

With Memorial Day having come and gone already (where has the time gone??) it means that summer has unofficially begun. And with sandal/flip-flop season started now, I’m realizing it’s time to pay a little more attention to my tootsies. Okay, who am I kidding? Since I live in Michigan, during the winter months I pay NO attention to my toes – I just can’t justify spending time on something that no one but me sees. But now that summer is here I’m motivated and excited to spruce up my toes with some color. I’m thinking you all may be too so I wanted to pass along a tip on my current favorite polish for toes. I found this color last year and I just love it for summer. It’s such a great pink-y coral color and it pretty much screams, “Bring on the beach and backyard barbecues!” It’s by OPI and the color is called, “My Chihuahua Bites. ” I honestly have no idea what that name has to do with the color, but nonetheless, that’s what it is. So here’s to pedicure season, everyone! If you have a favorite polish yourself, post it here so we can all share in the fun. There’s no more inexpensive and fun way to brighten up your look than with a great polish. Hope your summer is off to a fantastic start, I’m glad to be back online and looking forward to some fun style conversation over the coming months! 😉

(For more reviews on My Chihuahua Bites, click here.)

 

I'm headed off for a winter vacation later this month - help me pick out a new beach/pool bag! (Photo courtesy of Wiangya and FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Happy Friday, All! I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe it’s February already. With the crazy weather around here lately it’s hard to believe that it’s wintertime at all. But it really is, and this winter I’ve got a family vacation planned which we’ll be leaving for in just three and a half weeks. So even though it really is February I’ve been busy taking stock of my summer wardrobe and trying to figure out what to pack. One thing I’ve realized as I’ve been getting organized is that I really want to find a new beach/pool bag. I need something larger than what I currently have because now that we have a toddler the gear I need to drag along with us on beach and pool outings has multiplied. I would also just simply like a fresh look – the current canvas tote I have is monogrammed with my old maiden name initials and it’s looking a little dingy. It’s just time for something fresh and new. I first thought I would go the traditional Lands End/LL Bean route with a monogrammed canvas tote like I currently have. But then I thought maybe I would be a little adventurous and look into some other options. So I’ve been looking online for other ideas to see if anything else would catch my eye. At this point, I’ve narrowed it down to two choices and I need your help to make my decision. The two bags I’m looking at are featured below with a little info about each (I was having trouble with the photos so you’ll just have to link to the pages). So what do I do?? Stick with a tried-and-true classic or branch out a bit and try something a little different? What’s a girl to do? Help me out, I need some input and quick! I’ll be placing an order asap to make sure my new bag arrives in time for our vacation. Thanks for your thoughts and have a great weekend! 🙂  (Ps – If you have thoughts on other bags I should check out, by all means, pass the ideas along!)

Option #1 – The classic canvas tote from LL Bean. This is the bag I currently have but I would purchase a size larger than what I have now and go with an extra large to allow for more room to carry more “stuff.” I think I would also go with a basic black strap/bottom since the bag I have now has pink straps and if I go this route I’d like something a little more neutral. The bag is priced at $34.95 plus $6 for monogramming which I would have done. The dimensions of the bag are 17″H x 19″W x 10″D.

Option #2 – The Weekender in Sweetpea Stripe by Scout. This striped bag seems plenty big enough to be a great beach bag and the descriptions states that it is 100% cotton twill and wipes clean – a great option when dealing with sand, sunscreen and anything else my little one can come up with. I’ve never owned a Scout bag but I’m willing to branch out and try one. My only question is whether or not I really want to go with a striped (or patterned) bag. I know this may seem a little neurotic, but my fear is that while the bathing suits I own now would coordinate with this bag, in the future I may own other suits that do not – should I even worry about this? Am I over-thinking it? One other little question I have is related to monogramming – I really like having my monogram on my bag (I don’t know why, I just like it) and I could have that done with this Scout bag, but with this stripe pattern, I don’t think I would have it done. I’m just not sure I would like the look that way. Hmm….anyway, the dimensions of the bag are 17″H x 25″W x 13″D and the bag is priced at $35.  One other option I also like is to get the same bag in a denim look as well. Just to make things a little more complicated….

A New Beach Tote…Decisions, Decisions

Winter Wardrobe Must-Haves on The Nate Berkus Show

Fashion blogger, Liliana Vazquez, visits The Nate Berkus Show to offer up great winter outfit ideas.

I don’t know how I missed this segment on The Nate Berkus Show a week ago, but I thought I would share it in case you all missed it too. My favorite fashion blogger, Liliana Vazquez from Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style, was on the show to share her thoughts on the key items you need in your wardrobe to build some super stylish winter outfits. While watching the segment online earlier today I was pleasantly surprised to see that I actually already own several of the items and it gave me some great ideas for new ways to wear them. Two of the items were actually things I had just recently purchased. The first is a faux fur vest from JC Penney, very similar to the one by BB Dakota that I purchased on sale right after Christmas. I’ve been really happy with it – despite the fact that I look a bit Kardashian-esque when wearing it (ha ha) – but I’ve gotten lots of compliments and I’m loving it. Another one of the items Vazquez suggests is a puffer vest – in the segment it’s a vest from Forever 21. I’ve had my eye on a black puffer vest for a couple of months now and I just found one on sale this past weekend at Sears in their in-store Lands End section for about $25. I’m looking forward to wearing it through the winter with jeans, warm sweaters and some fun scarves. Some of the other staples Vazquez recommends are a white button down shirt, dark skinny jeans, and a great pair of riding boots. She also showcased a great zigzag print dress from www.shopsosie.com that I absolutely love. It’s made with a lightweight fabric and reminds me of something by Missoni – only this dress is surprisingly affordable at just $43. To see all of Vazquez’s picks, click here. And to see her picks in action with 30 days of outfit ideas, click here. You won’t be disappointed! I’m even thinking I might have to break down and purchase some of the items I don’t already have in my closet given their great prices. Enjoy!

Polyvore Friday!

Happy Polyvore Friday! I'm loving this simple but classic look for an easygoing winter weekend.

Happy Friday, All! Are you as ready for the weekend as I am? It’s downright freezing and snowy here in my neck of the woods and it will be that way through the weekend but I’m still more than ready for some down time. To kick things off for the weekend I thought I would share one of my favorite outfits from Polyvore from the last week (pictured above). It’s simple but I love a nice black turtleneck and the wide-leg flare jeans are such a breath of fresh air when skinnies seem to still rule the scene. My favorite winter uniform is a great pair of jeans and a nice warm sweater. Like I said, it’s simple but it’s so comfy when the weather is cold and snowy outside. With this Polyvore outfit I also love the splash of leopard in the shoes. I’m a lover of leopard print – in small doses – and these shoes help spice up the outfit just enough. Love it. So that’s it, that’s one of my favorites from Polyvore this week. Hope you have a fantastic weekend!