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  1. How Many Handbags Do You Own?

    April 15, 2015 by Kayla

    PHOT0033.JPGAs you all know, I’ve been working on pairing down my clothes and accessories the last couple of years. (Slow and steady wins the race people!) One area I cut down significantly is the number of handbags and purses I own.

    When I started my mission to simplify my life and my closet, I owned 17 bags and I narrowed it down to 10. Since then I haven’t acquired any new bags, but I haven’t gotten rid of any either. 10 seems to be my number, at least for now.

    Although I will likely be parting with one of my favorite purses soon as it’s getting really worn and shabby looking, which is not conducive to wearing with my office professional looks. :( I’m actually pretty bummed about it and I might look for a replacement for it. But we’ll just have to see if I come across one as awesome in the future.

    Here’s the criteria I used to narrow my handbags down to the current 10 I own:

    • Neutrals – I kept one black and one brown purse as these go with anything (except brown doesn’t go with black and vice versa). Having a couple of neutral colored purses is a great place to start when narrowing down your handbags. Personally, I don’t see any need to keep multiple purses of the same neutral color so I kept only one black and one brown bag. My black purse is solid, but my brown bag is a brown and white giraffe print.
    • Metallic – I also decided to keep my champagne metallic purse because it’s also a neutral with some fun added via the metallic finish. The metallic finish also makes it look a little more “dressy” if you need a handbag for a fancier occasion.
    • Sizes – I did keep a smaller clutch-like bag for nights when I don’t want to be bogged down by a large purse. This gives my bag “collection” a little more versatility.
    • Colors and Prints – Select a few of your favorite colors and prints to keep. My favorite colors are purple and teal, so I kept one teal bag and two purple bags in different shades. I did get rid of at least one other purple bag as it seemed redundant and I kept the higher quality one.

    That’s how I decided to narrow down my bags and only keep the ones I felt were most versatile. I got rid of a green bag and I liked, but it only matched like 2 of my outfits so I didn’t feel like it was getting very much use for the amount of space it was taking up.

    Like I mentioned, I also got rid of one purple purse and I also decided to part with one Vera Bradley purse because I had two in the same pattern, which seemed a little crazy.

    How many handbags do you own? How do you decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss? How often do you wear out a purse?


  2. Trend Alert: Maxi Dresses and Skirts

    April 7, 2015 by Kayla

    Okay, so I’m a little behind on announcing maxi dresses and skirts as being a trend. They have been pretty popular for at least a couple of years now. But just like the Aztec trend, until just recently I was totally not on board with maxi anything.

    I always found maxi dresses to be unflattering to people with curves and shorter girls. I especially had trouble when it was a short and curvy girl, which is me. Then I realized that I was going for the wrong shape and print.

    Personally, I don’t like maxi dresses that have a “bubble” of extra fabric around the waist or bust and I don’t like ones with horizontal stripes as I think they make me look wider. (But that doesn’t mean some of you can’t pull off horizontal stripes.)

    After some more investigating, I finally bought my first maxi skirt and I’m in love with it! It’s a nice jersey-type material that makes me feel like I’m wearing sweatpants to the office. Plus, I got it in the chevron print, which is a bonus because I love chevron!

    Anyhow, I’ll be making a day trip to a nearby city this weekend and I’ll have my eyes open to pick out either another maxi skirt, or a maxi dress while I’m there.

    I’m on a pretty strict budget these days, so I want to find one that cute, comfortable, and fairly inexpensive. It also needs to be versatile so I can mix and match it with several shirts and/or jackets to get more use out of it.

    I’ve done a little online browsing in the meantime and here are some that I like:

    maxiskirtcollage

     

     

    Left, Center, Right

    These are all the skirts I like and most of them come in different color schemes or patterns. As you can see, I like all of them in chevron. :)

    targetmaxicollage

    Left, Right

    I really like the top of the right dress as it appears to give a little more coverage, which would more appropriate for an office. I’d still have to wear a jacket with all of these dresses though to cover up my shoulders and arms. The right one also has a fun little detail with the uneven bottom hemline.

    mauricesmaxidresscollage

    Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left, Bottom Right

    All of these dresses come from one of my favorite stores, Maurices. I love almost all of the clothes from there.

    The bottom right dress might have the “bubble” problem I mentioned earlier, so I’d have to try it on to find out for sure. The top left dress looks like it would definitely have that problem, but if you don’t mind that extra material it looks like a cute option.

    The top right and bottom left dresses have chiffon skirts which is a fun touch and will be great for summer when it gets super hot outside. You just have to avoid wearing them on windy days so the material doesn’t fly up.

    Have you ever tried maxi skirts or dresses? Do you like them?


  3. Essential Oils: Essential or a Scam?

    March 31, 2015 by Kayla

    291904099_9f2e31213f_zI know I’ve been all over the place lately, from no longer working out at Crossfit, to trying out blending and all kinds of other crazy things, but hopefully I’ll be able to slow down and actually get on track with some of my new healthy habits.

    One health trend that I’ve been kind of curious (read: mostly skeptical) about is essential oils. My hair dresser and several people I know around town have been using essential oils for a few weeks now and they are just singing their praises. Essential oils have helped them avoid going to the doctor’s office. Essential oils have helped them achieve weight loss. Essential oils have given them more energy and they spend less time sleeping. And on and on and on.

    Personally, I’m very skeptical about essential oils having all of these magical powers health benefits. But I finally decided to give them a try on a limited basis.

    When I was getting my hair cut a couple of weeks ago, my hairdresser was talking all about essential oils and what they’ve done for her. Her story is honest pretty unbelievable/miraculous. She told me they have a “test” they can do to see which oils will benefit you and help you get all of your targets “in range” (whatever that means). The test took about 2 minutes and was completely harmless, which is good. At the end of it, eucalyptus came back as the oil that would help alleviate most of my “problems” and help my targets to be “in range”. So I decided to try eucalyptus oil for 30 days to see what happens and then I’ll be re-tested.

    In order to try it out, I bought oil ($14) and a diffuser ($30). I was also conned into convinced to buy a “membership” in order to get my oils at wholesale instead of retail ($35). (That part was probably a dumb purchase as I don’t know that I’ll keep using oils forever and make up that “investment”, but I guess we’ll see. It did save me $6 already.)

    For the past week, I’ve been diffusing eucalyptus oil in water every night for at least 8 hours. On the days when I stayed home sick (I got strep throat, laryngitis, and a sinus infection), I’ve been next to the diffuser even longer.

    While I’m not convinced that essential oils are as magical powerful as everyone claims (I feel no different yet), we’ll see what my test results show when I go to get my next hair cut in a few weeks.

    I’ll also have some additional “proof” as my mom decided to buy a couple of different oils to try to help her alleviate her regularly occurring migraine headaches. If she sees miraculous results by using essential oils to beat the pain of her headaches, I’ll probably try that out too but I just didn’t want to “invest” any more money into trying out oils than I already had because of my skeptical nature.

    So, I don’t really know if essential oils are truly essential or if they are a scam, but I’ll definitely report back to you after I find out more.

    Have you ever tried essential oils?


  4. Spring Flowers

    March 24, 2015 by Kayla

    I know Spring’s only just sprung, but we’ve been having some amazing weather in my neck of the woods the last few weeks. This weekend it got to 80F on Saturday and was gorgeous! (Jealous yet?)

    Due to the changing of the seasons, I wanted to share some fun spring pieces with you today.

    I don’t know if you know this, but I used to be a total tomboy and there was no way I’d have ever been caught dead wearing floral printed anything. But these days I’ve gotten a bit more girly and I do have a couple of floral printed items in my closet, including some super cute wedges that I can’t wait to break out and wear. In fact, I might have to plan my outfit around my shoes tomorrow because I’m so anxious to wear them, haha!

    With that in mind, here are a few floral pieces I found that I’m absolutely loving!

    FloralCollage

     

    Black Floral Shift Dress – This is a great option for day or night depending on how you accessorize it. Plus, we just talked the other day about how shift dresses can be used year round.

    Floral Wedges – I have a pair of floral wedges in my closet that I absolutely love! I never knew how versatile they’d be when I bought them. You can pair outfits of almost any color with floral printed accessories since they have so many colors in the print.

    Floral Pullover – This is a super cute shirt and floral prints with a navy background are very in right now.

    Floral Cardigan – I love this gray and floral cardigan. It’s perfect for early mornings or late nights when the air has a bit of nip to it.

    Navy Floral Scarf – Floral, navy, and a scarf. What more is there to say about this piece? :)

    Floral Sunglasses – How cute are these? I love the vintage feel they could bring to your outfit.

    Floral Sandals – Not only do these sandals have a slight floral print to them, they also have some bling!

    White Floral Dress – I love the light color of the dress with the dark trim. This dress screams classy.

    White Floral Scarf – Again, I just love scarves and they bring just the right amount of floral and girly-ness to an outfit.

    If you think you can’t pull of floral because you aren’t overly girly, think again. Try floral in small doses, like a scarf, shoes, or sunglasses first.

    You can also try pairing a floral skirt or dress with some tougher or more structured accessories. I’d consider wearing a black leather jacket with the white floral dress on the bottom row for a night out.

    How do you pull off floral prints in your wardrobe?


  5. Seasonal Shifts: The Dress for All Seasons

    March 19, 2015 by Kayla

    132400_flAs the seasons change, so do our wardrobes… well, traditionally they do. Whether it’s the fashion seasons or the weather seasons (you can’t stick to shorts when it’s cold outside!) our wardrobes need to be constantly changing and evolving if we want to keep up with the times. Usually, this means forking out cash year after year on new wardrobe pieces. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an item of clothing that could be dressed up to suit any season?

    Enter the shift dress.

    This wonderful piece of clothing is incredibly versatile and is something all women should have in their wardrobe (if you don’t already, retailers like Universal Store usually have some great affordable shift dresses).

    In case you don’t know, the term ‘shift’ relates to the cut of the dress and refers to a dress that essentially hangs down loose from the shoulders. There isn’t any definition around the waist and the material hangs off the body rather than sticking to it.

    The Shift Dress in Summer

    You don’t need many accessories to make the shift dress work in Summer; it’s perfect for the hotter months as it doesn’t cling to your body, which also makes it great for hiding any annoying sweat patches. If it’s a casual shift, just throw on a pair of nice sneakers and you’ve got a cool day look. If it’s more of a glam dress, a pair of heels and a matching clutch will give you classy evening wear.

    The Shift Dress in Autumn

    The weather’s getting a little cooler, but a shift dress can still be worn. If it’s a little breezy, perhaps pair with a light cardigan over the top for some extra warmth. A casual shift dress will look great with a denim jacket over the top too, especially if the dress has an intricate print.

    The Shift Dress in Winter

    Winter is where the shift dress can really be accessorised to its full potential. A pair of stockings looks great underneath a shift dress (if the stockings are black, a shift dress will actually make your legs look leaner as the material billows out from the knees). A cardigan or jacket over the top creates an extra layer of warmth or another great option is to put a turtleneck or long sleeved shirt underneath (if your shift dress has short/no sleeves). A beanie can complete your cute winter look.

    The Shift Dress in Spring

    Spring has sprung and it’s time to shed all the winter layers and enjoy your shift dress in all its glory. Wear in similar styles to summer or keep the cardigan on if the weather’s still a touch on the cool side.

    So if you don’t already have one of these beautiful, versatile dresses in your wardrobe, what are you waiting for? You can easily dress it up to wear all year round, which saves cash and wardrobe space. Plus, a shift dress suits virtually every body type – no annoying clingy bits of material highlighting body parts we’d rather keep out of focus!

    What are some things you love about your shift dresses and how do you accessorize to justify wearing them in every season?


  6. Juicing or Blending: Which is Healthier?

    March 17, 2015 by Kayla

    1415529940_4edf26bc6d_zJuicing and “smoothies” have become all the rage in the healthy-eating world these days. In fact, one of my co-workers just recently starting making herself a 50% vegetable and 50% fruit smoothie for lunch each day instead of eating a full meal and she claims to feel better and more attentive throughout the afternoon, plus she said she still feels full like she would have after eating a regular lunch. I’ve personally never tried either fad, but the more I hear about it from family and friends, the more interested I’ve become.

    Some people I know have juicers and others have blenders, like the Nutribullet on Gumtree. After hearing about both from different people and other sources, I’ve decided to do my own little comparison here so I can weigh the pros and cons before deciding if I want to pursue this healthy trend and if so, which route will be better for me and my lifestyle.

    Blending/Smoothies

    Since I already own a decent-enough blender, I’m tempted to try making smoothies first as I can see how they might be the more nutritious of the two options. This is because blending a smoothie takes a whole piece of fruit or vegetable and includes the fiber, which is essential for weight loss and to help you feel full longer. Making a smoothie will also require less fresh ingredients than juicing, which also makes it the more frugal choice too. I have also heard that making a smoothie is a much faster process than juicing (including clean-up of both pieces of equipment).

    The only concern I have about trying a smoothie (over juicing) is that my current blender isn’t powerful enough and that I might still have to end up buying a new piece of equipment no matter which option I choose.

    Juicing

    One of the benefits I could see for juicing is that you’ll end up with a smooth “drink” rather than a chunky smoothie since juicing doesn’t leave the pulp of the ingredients in the final product. I do have trouble with strange textures in food and drinks, so juicing would eliminate that problem.

    Because juicing takes a lot more ingredients, it does tend to pack a more powerful punch of nutrients than a smoothie (except fiber, as already stated). This might be a good way to go to start out with if your body is seriously unhealthy and in need of the most nutrients possible to help you get healthy right off the bat. There are also some vegetables that you can’t include in a smoothie, like wheat grass, which is really good for you but isn’t something our bodies can digest well.

    Either way I go, I’m sure I’ll have to invest in a new kitchen gadget if I want to end up with the best possible product. I just wish there was a way to “try it before you buy it” as I don’t really want to end up with an expensive new kitchen gadget collecting dust if I decide that neither juicing or blending is the right choice for me.

    Do you juice or blend? Which one would you try first?


  7. Pattern Mixing: Yay or Nay?

    March 10, 2015 by Kayla

    Thanks to Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear, we all know that there are 4 different things you can incorporate to make an outfit interesting:

    • Color
    • Texture
    • Pattern
    • Shine

    I love to use all of these things in my outfits, but in moderation, so I look classy and interesting without being over-the-top. Pattern is an especially fun way to add interest to an outfit as pattern can actually incorporate all three of the other elements of interest at times.

    The more I play with my wardrobe, the more fun I seem to have with it as lately I’ve started doing more and more pattern mixing. I’m still careful to make sure that I’m not over-the-top with my pattern mixing as I’ve seen some pretty scary outfits come out when people try to mess around with pattern mixing. But I do think there are times that pattern mixing can be fun and tasteful. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when you try pattern mixing.

    Vary the Size

    One of the first rules of pattern mixing is to avoid using two large, loud prints in the same outfit. I’ve seen some people use two different big floral patterns in the same outfit, and for me that is just too much (though part of it might be my more conservative nature). In order for me to feel comfortable with pattern mixing, I try to pick one bold pattern and one smaller pattern to mix together.

    ChevronPatternMixing

    Tank Top; Jacket; Jeggings; Boat ShoesPurse

    Break Them Up

    Placement of the patterns in your outfit can also a make a huge difference. Sometimes it’s okay to put one patterned item right up against another, especially is if of them is very subtle, but most of the time breaking them up is a better idea. Wearing a striped shirt with an animal print bag or shoe is a great way to mix pattern because they are broken up and therefore the solid pieces in between bring some calmness to the outfit.

    Stick with the Same Color Family

    Another great way to try pattern mixing when you are first starting out is sticking to two patterns that use the same color family. This makes your pattern mixing less noticeable, which is a great way to start out if you are unsure about the pattern mixing trend.

    BlueandGreenPatternMixing

    Tank Top; Jacket; Jeggings; Wedges; Purse

    Use One Subtle or Neutral Pattern

    One of my favorite pieces to use for pattern mixing is my black on black animal print blazer. The blazer is comfortable and professional enough to wear for work, but the embossed black animal print adds a little fun to an otherwise plain black blazer. The pattern is also a very subtle one that you wouldn’t notice unless you look pretty close. This makes the blazer ideal to put next to a patterned shirt.

    Items that have very small prints, like tiny polka dots or small stripes, can be used as if they were a solid piece, which makes pattern mixing easy. This is especially true if you use items that have these small, subtle patterns in a neutral color (like my black embossed blazer). Even though it has a pattern, they can be used as a sold neutral in most outfits.

    Have you ever tried pattern mixing? Do you like it? Why or why not.

    PS: This post also shows one piece multiple ways. :)


  8. Stuck in a Rut: Why I Haven’t Been Working Out

    March 3, 2015 by Kayla

    3648491782_30c71258bc_zI’m not one for making excuses. In fact, I get really annoyed with people who are constantly making excuses. But I haven’t been the most motivated when it comes to my workout routine lately.

    I stated off this year with great intentions. I was already used to working out 3 times/week consistently. But as my online side hustles have continued to grow and take up more and more time in the evenings, I decided I had to switch to morning workouts to free up more evening time for writing and working online.

    In all honesty though, I absolutely hate working out in the mornings. It’s not working for me at all. I haven’t been very consistent with my workouts in 2015 and it’s starting to show in my clothes and in my health. I’m stuck in a rut of not wanting to work out.

    I feel better when I workout consistently. I have more energy throughout the day and I’m more motivated in the evenings. So why do I hate morning workouts?

    I Don’t Have Accountability

    I’ve never had good self-accountability, and I don’t have anyone in my morning workout class to help keep me going when workouts are tough, or even just to get to the workout consistently.

    I Miss My Old Trainer

    The trainer in the morning classes is different from the trainer in the evening classes. Both of them are excellent trainers and very knowledgable, but they have different styles. Personally, I mesh better with the trainer in the evenings. She knows just how much to push me and when I need a little extra encouragement to keep going. The morning trainer doesn’t have that figured out, and our personalities just don’t mesh as well together.

    The Community Aspect

    In addition to not having anyone in the morning class to help me stay accountable, my evening classmates feel like a family. We all talk together before and after the workouts. We work together during strength exercises and we are all closer to the same ability level. In the morning class, everyone is very quiet and doesn’t spend time chatting and getting to know each other (it is 5:30 a.m., so I get it!). I am also nowhere near at the same level of fitness as the rest of the morning class, which makes it especially hard on partner workouts and exercises.

    So, what am I going to do about it?

    I’m going to switch back to evening workouts. Yes, this takes away evening time I need for my side hustle, so I’m either going to have to stay up a little later, or get up earlier (at around 6:00) to get some more work done.

    One thing’s for sure, I’m counting down the days until I can quit my full-time job and have more flexibility!

    What would you do if you were me? Have you ever been stuck in a work out rut?

    Photo courtesy of: Dain Sandoval


  9. Closet Clean Out Part Two: Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

    February 28, 2015 by Kayla

    You can read part one here.

    I know I’m a little late with this update, but it’s been a pretty hectic few days over here lately. While I do want, and need, to clean out my closet, it definitely hasn’t been at the tip-top of my priority list.

    Despite being super busy, I have managed to go through my shoes.

    Shoes have always been a problem area for me, but it really exploded when I got to college. After I got to college I no longer had my parents watching my spending and seeing all the new shoes and clothes coming in the house.

    When I went through my shoes last year, I went from about 88 pairs of shoes down to about 66 pairs of shoes. Since then, I did have a little shoe creep as I bought 3 pairs of shoes since then (I think).

    Here’s what my shoes looked like before I removed any shoes this time around:

    image (1)

    image

    shoe-basket-after-12282013-169x300

     

    After looking over my shoes, I got rid of 9 pairs of shoes and 13 pairs of sandals/flip-flops. Here’s what I am getting rid of (just the shoes, I’m keeping the dog). :)

    IMG_20150228_103422157

     

    It filled up an entire 13 gallon trash sack! Don’t worry, I won’t be throwing these perfectly good shoes in the trash. I’ll be holding on to them for what has, somewhat unfortunately, become my annual yard sale.

    I don’t know if you’ll be able to see much of a difference, but here’s what my shoes looked like after I was done putting them all away.

    IMG_20150228_103728211

    IMG_20150228_103735629

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    I re-arranged them a little bit so all the boots are together, all the tennis shoes are together, etc. I was also able to empty out the basket that used to contain my sandals. Now there’s room for my sandal in the closet with the rest of my shoes.

    This will make it easier for me to see what all sandals I own so I can get to them and wear them more easily this summer.

    By my math, I’m down to only about 50 pairs of shoes now. That’s still a lot, and I might continue to get rid of some more as I work on cleaning out my closet, but for now I’m happy with my progress.

    Up next: Tackling my clothes. Yikes!

    Is your clothes closet in need of a clean out?


  10. The Beauty of a Belt

    February 24, 2015 by Kayla

    Before reading a guest post on Audrey’s blog, Putting Me Together, I was always hesitant to belt anything as I thought I couldn’t pull off an outfit with a belt since I’m exactly the smallest of girls. But ever since then I’ve experimented with belting different shirts and sweaters, especially if they are pretty loose or if I am wearing a slouchy cardigan that I wish I could close over my midsection.

    Audrey’s style challenge for this week was to belt something and as soon as I read that and saw the weather forecast, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to wear my new-to-me Aztec cardigan.

    As you all know by now I’m pretty much obsessed with Aztec these days, and I was just waiting for weather cold enough to warrant me wearing this huge, slouchy, and extremely warm cardigan. It’s a cream and black cardigan, which makes it a little more difficult to style as you can’t really pair cream with white (in my opinion).

    Instead I went for black boots, black pants, a black shirt, and my cardigan. Yes that’s a lot of black! When I first got dressed, I was really starting to question my outfit decision.

    IMG_20150223_075340305

    As I said, the cardigan is pretty shapeless and the outfit is all drab with no pops of color. But then I added some accessories that made my outfit more fun and added some shape.

    IMG_20150223_075746042

    I added a bright 2 strand necklace that has beads of every size, shape, and color, some teal earrings, and a skinny black belt to hold my cardigan shut and give me some shape and a defined waist.

    It’s amazing how much difference a couple of small accessories can make!