4.30.2013

What I Wore: Crochet Peplum Top (+ a giveaway!)

We all know southern women like to make a statement. (That's a fact.) So what better way to do so than with fun statement necklaces? There is something about a good statement necklace that just makes me swoon! The big look, the bright colors, and the design all combined seem to make any outfit a little more fun. And that's precisely how I feel about this necklace from A Cut Above Boutique! It's bright blue color is amazing. I love that it can be tied to the length of your choice! I've worn this quite a few times since receiving it, but I absolutely loved it paired with this crochet peplum top! It really stands out! 






Top: Francesca's (similar) ⎪ Denim: Old Navy Rockstar ⎪ Necklace: A Cut Above Boutique c/o ⎪ Jewelry: Michael Kors watch (similar), Stella + Dot c/o, David Yurman 


Today I am partnering with A Cut Above Boutique to give away one of their fabulous "all tied up" statement necklaces! Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. The giveaway will run from April 30th to May 7th at midnight. Good luck! xo


a Rafflecopter giveaway

4.29.2013

Scenes from the Weekend

Hi! I hope y'all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was pretty relaxing, and I'm definitely not complaining about that one bit! Friday was spent in the south end of Charlotte drinking beer and watching sports! Brian and I took the light rail there and had a fun night, just the two of us! Being in a long distance relationship it's nice to have time spent just between us sometimes (even if it does mean watching endless hours of sports!!) 

Spring is one of my favorite seasons (excluding the pollen it brings)! The scenery all around town is simply gorgeous. Flowers are blooming, trees are their brightest of greens, and everything seems a little more cheery! I took advantage of the beauty and was able to snap some photos this weekend! There is a garden not far from my house that is filled with acres of flowers, walking paths, and benches. In the spring I love to go here to take in the beauty, read my book, and of course take some photos. This time I even captured a bee pollinating! It was pretty cool to see up close.

Saturday I got to spend some quality time with my best friend, Bre! We had both been extremely busy and kept missing each other between trips! It was a fun day filled with taking some outfit photos (of course), playing around Uptown Charlotte, and trying to avoid the rain!


Sometimes, relaxing weekends are just what the doctor calls for after a crazy busy work week! I feel rejuvenated and ready for the week to come!

What did you do this weekend? 

4.28.2013

Shopping Sunday: A Cut Above Boutique

Blogging and world of social media have introduced me to sooo many great boutiques, online stores, and products over the past few years! It makes me so happy to shop the boutiques and online stores of Twitter and Instagram friends that I have made over the years! 

I had followed Brittney on Instagram and Twitter long before she opened her boutique. She always had the cutest outfits and a great style to boot. So, when word got around that she was opening her own boutique, A Cut Above I knew it would be nothing less than fabulous! She's been a store owner since July 2011 and since then I have been amazed and obsessed with nearly everything in her online store! I hope I can make my way to the Ocala area of Florida sometime so I can meet this sweet girl (and see all her success) in person! 

Last week a package from A Cut Above Boutique showed up at my door and it was a mere few seconds before I had the package torn open and the contents out! But, of course I was quick to snap a few pictures before opening up the rest! Inside was an adorable shift dress, a scarf and their "all tied up" necklace!


I am LOVING this shift dress for spring and summer. I know it will get plenty of wear! The pattern and colors are simply perfect!

P.S: Be on the lookout for a giveaway this coming week for that beautiful blue "all tied up" necklace!

4.27.2013

Saturday Pinspiration!

I still really like Pinterest, but I have found myself having less and less time to peruse the site as of late! When I do find time I am guilty of just "liking" pins instead of pinning them to my boards....oops. After a brief absence from my boards I am back, and totally inspired! Here's what Pinterest has inspired me with today!


via
I could definitely lounge around and drink this......

via
While relaxing in a hammock.......

via
With this as my view......

via

And this as my beach cover-up......



Sounds pretty great, right? A girl can dream!
So, who's with me?
Can you tell I'm having severe wanderlust right now?

4.26.2013

Friday Five

Happy Friday, Friends!

{one}
Something exciting happened on the job front this week.... I was given a promotion and raise! Talk about one happy girl! I have been with my company for right at a year, so it was a great accomplishment! It's always a great feeling being rewarded for your actions!

{two}
So, naturally, after getting some good news I went out and celebrated with a little retail therapy. I had been perusing Forever 21's website and saw a lot of great things, so I ventured there after work! I got a ton of cute stuff and can't wait to share it all with you!
            forever 21 finds
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven //

{three}
Ever since I refinished and painted my bedroom furniture for my new apartment I have been itching for a new project! My current coffee table isn't one that I exactly like....at all. So, I've been thinking about refinishing or even perusing some thrift stores to see if I can find any hidden gems! I would love something that looked like this. From the tutorial linked below it seems like it would be such an easy and fun project to make my home a little more.... "me."
{four}
The weather has been up and down this week. It's either been really warm or really windy. So, here's what I've been wearing! Plus it is like an ice box in my office so it is a rare occasion when I will wear a dress or shorts! 


{five}
It's Friday Fancies time, once again! This week is all about April Showers. With April closing out pretty soon my area has been pretty lucky to not have too many April Showers. Hopefully the lack of storms will still bring May flowers ;-)
rain rain



4.25.2013

What I Wore: Coral Pleated Maxi Dress

In the warmer months I am all about Maxi dresses! Because really, what could be more comfortable than a long summery dress? My answer: nothing. Over the past few years my love of maxi dresses has turned into a full on obsession. They are flowy, easy to wear, and perfect to wear in day-to-night settings with a few simple accessory changes. 

To me, maxi dresses are kind of like a blank canvas. I always go after the simple ones and play around with accessorizing them! This dress is the perfect coral blank canvas for my wardrobe. Coral is one of my favorite go-to colors for the summer months and I have so many accessories that go well with it! The pleating and the slit up the sides of the dress make it a little more fun! 

This time I paired it with a pale turquoise flower necklace and wedges for a semi casual look.
Dress: Petal Boutique c/o ⎪ Wedges: Target ⎪ Necklace: Target (similar) ⎪
Accessories: David Yurman, Stella + Dot c/o, Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters
 

4.24.2013

Tips for Better Blogging: Photography


Photography has been one of my favorite hobbies ever since I was old enough to have a real camera. It started out with the cheapie camera that I begged my parents for, then I moved on to the point and shoot camera (ok, so maybe a few of those....I was clumsy!), and finally for my college graduation I got the Canon t3i, D-SLR camera. My family is filled with people who have a great eye for photography and a real passion for capturing precious moments. I certainly take after them in that aspect! You will always find me with a camera in hand.

So naturally, one thing that instantly draws my attention to a blog is photography. If a blog has great photos in addition to their content, I am about 99.9% going back to read it (and view the beautiful photos!) Being able to visualize and see into people's life in the form of photos makes a blog so much more appealing, in my opinion.

Now I am by no means an expert photographer or anything of the sort, but these small tips can go a long way (and they have certainly helped me over time!)

Learn the basics of your camera. Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera or a D-SLR learn the basics of it. It is so helpful to read the manual that comes with your camera. What I have found that also works well for me is to google or youtube anything I have questions about- whether it's aperture, ISO, etc. Seeing step by step instructions really helps to understand something as intimidating as the buttons on your camera.

Take a lot of photos. My grandfather, who has mastered pretty much every camera from the box camera to today's most up-to-date D-SLR,  has always told me "it is better to take too many shots than not enough." I have taken his advice to heart. Anytime I am out taking photos I take a lot. Even if it is just of a flower I will work with the manual setting, try different angles, and work with different shutter speeds. It always amazes me as I am filtering through them later just how different each and every photo looks, even though the subject is the same. It's a great way to get different perspective! And of course, by taking more photos you are allowing yourself a better chance at one you really love. 

Invest in a Tripod/Remote. Having a tripod is extremely beneficial. There are some shots I wouldn't have ever been able to get without my tripod. Having a tripod allows for straight photos without any movement. (I am so guilty of having shaky hands while taking photographs!) Having a remote is also very beneficial (and pretty cheap too!) While self timed photos aren't necessarily bad, it is much easier to have the remote to get the optimal quality photo and still allowing yourself to be in the photo. These are two items I deemed "essentials" right after getting my camera. Each has gotten their fair share of use and they've made for my clear, timed, and straight photos! 

Practice, Practice, Practice. I think practicing is the best way to learn how to use your camera. Any chance I get I am taking photos in different lighting and different settings. I also play around with the features my camera has. Because really, what is the use of having a nice D-SLR if you don't know how to use it! Practice still shots, action shots, and any other type of photos that you would ultimately like to have on your blog. Each photo is an opportunity for you to improve!

Here are just a few of the photos I have taken and experimented with over time.
Next week I'll be back discussing photo editing software! 

4.23.2013

Dove's Real Beauty Sketches Campaign



Late last week I saw someone tweet the link to Dove's Real Beauty Sketches Campaign. It's not often that I watch videos that people post online, but something struck me about it and I decided to watch it while I was getting ready for work. Dove has been notorious for their campaigns and I have always enjoyed every single one. This campaign was no different. 

The jist of the campaign was to have the sketch artist ask the women questions about themselves in order to draw a portrait. The women were also asked to become friends and study another person closely throughout the day. In the video you see them being asked to describe both themselves and the other person to the sketch artist. In the end, both portraits are revealed to each woman; one where she described herself, and the other where someone else described her. Each looking very different from the other. Which was very thought provoking and emotional for every single woman.

Something about this campaign really registered with me. It was ironic that I watched it while putting on my makeup and assessing what my face "needed" in order to be seen out in public for the day.

We live in a world where we are constantly judging ourselves, trying to change parts of who we are, and focusing on the things we don't like about ourselves instead of focusing on our great features. This video was so eye opening to me. No one sees the "bad" things that I see in myself, just like no one saw the protruding chin or fat cheeks of those girls in the video.

I think it is so very important to maintain a great self-image of yourself. Being positive about yourself and your features.....and rocking them! I decided that from now on, when I am being nit-picky or focusing on a bad feature I have that I am going to turn that around and somehow make it positive.

These are quotes from the video that really have stuck in my head since watching the video. I think this video is something every young girl, teen, and woman should see. 

"I've come a long way in how I see myself, but I still think I have a long way to go"

"Our self perceptions are generally kind of harsh and unbecoming, when really that's not how the world sees us."

"We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren't quite right, and we should spend more time appreciating the things we do like."

What did you think of the video?
Do you think you are your hardest critic?
 

4.22.2013

Giveaway: Shop Riffraff Necklace

Do you ever have one of those moments when you come across something and you're instantly smitten?? That's how I felt when I received this necklace from Riffraff located in Arkansas! They sent me so many fun items, but this necklace had me dreaming of every kind of outfit I could possibly wear this with! 

I wore this outfit last week to a Bobcats game (coincidentally one of their colors is orange #truefan) and got so many compliments on the necklace! It is such a fun piece of jewelry that can be worn casually (as I did below) or dressed up. I loved pairing it with this coral-y orange pleated top. It was "just enough."



Top: Target (clearance for $6 yessss) // Jeans: Old Navy Rockstar // Necklace: Riffraff // Wedges: Target (last year) //


Like this necklace and want one for yourself? Well, lucky you! I am giving one away today. Enter below using the Rafflecopter widget. This giveaway will run until April 27th at midnight. 
*Please note: I verify all entries before granting a winner through Rafflecopter!*


Good luck!
xo
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

4.21.2013

Currently Loving

I seem to always have an ongoing list of things I am currently loving.
These items in particular are what have been on my list lately!

currently loving

one // two // three // four // five // six //

one. Statement Necklaces: I have always had a soft spot for big, bright, bold necklaces. But lately, every store and website seems to have upped the ante with their necklaces! Some of my favorites have been from Pink Pineapple Shop!

two. Tory Burch Miller Sandals: After wanting these for quite some time I am so happy to have them in my possession I wear them all the time! Aside from breaking them in (ouch!) I have been loving them. If you've been on the fence about getting them I highly suggest you take the plunge!

three. Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC: This is an item I have yet to bite the bullet for, but I look at them at least once a week. I've come to the conclusion I "need" this bag. Now just to decide what color.... Isn't the pale pink too cute?!

four. Essie Spring Collection: I have bought a few of these and every.single.one. I have loved. These are the ultimate spring/summer colors. So fun!

five. Fringe Bikini Tops: I got one earlier this year and it really needs to be swimsuit season (.....or not for my bodys sake) so I can wear it!

six. Floral Print Shorts: These beauties caught my eye when I was perusing Nordstrom's website one day last week. Ever since I have been planning what I would wear with these. They're so girly. The bright colors definitely scream summer!

Enjoy your Sunday, friends!
 

4.20.2013

Making a Run for It

If you recall I finally got back into running (after quite a few years off). When I ran in high school it was a time to reflect. A time to de-stress. A time just to myself. And that is what I loved so much about it. I would just put my headphones in, listen to my running playlist, and just go run. I didn't necessarily have a mile number I wanted to run, I just ran. And that felt so good. 

Then I stopped. 
I went to college where it was cold and snowy, where I put it aside, where other things came first. Looking  back I am so mad at myself for allowing something that I found so enjoyable and relaxing to let slip away.

But now, I'm back at it! A fresh start for me and my running. A new path to run on and explore, a new set of problems and worries to run off, and a newfound passion for running. Although I don't get to run as often as I would like to (damn you job for getting in the way;)) I still find time to push through my exhaustion and stress for my running time.

This weekend I don't really have set-in-stone plans, so I plan to get in some good running miles. And enjoy every single one of them! What are some tips you have for getting back into running? 

And, of course, now that I'm getting back into running I need new running shoes!
Have any of you worn these? Which ones do you think?
run.



4.18.2013

FRIDAY FIVE

Happy Friday!
This is the first weekend in quite some time that I don't have any set-in-stone plans and won't be traveling anywhere! It will be nice to relax, go on a few runs, and enjoy it being the weekend! What are you up to this weekend?

{one}
Last weekend was Barrister's Ball and what a fun time it was! The theme of this year's ball was The Great Gatsby Gala (which I loved!) It was great to see so many people dressed for the theme. It was located at the Mint Museum in uptown Charlotte, which made for a beautiful  night. We had all five floors, there was a live band, a DJ, and most of the art galleries were open. It was definitely a success!

On Saturday we spent the day recovering from the previous night's events. And what better way to do that than to drink Sangria on the rooftop of Whiskey Warehouse?!? #hairofthedog It was an absolutely gorgeous day spent outdoors (that resulted in quite bad sunburn....)

{two}
My mind is still in shock at the events that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon. I sat at my desk at work in utter shock that something bad was happening in this world...again. To more innocent people. I was constantly scrolling through my twitter and instagram feeds to verify that friends and acquaintances in the area were ok and safe. I was surfing the internet to verify what stories were real and which ones were falsified, all while trying to make sense as to what kind of human being would do such a thing. And better yet, why? There are so many mean, evil, and just plain bad people in this world and that is absolutely terrifying to me. I just don't understand it.
Although where there is bad, there is always good. I was amazed at all of the people selflessly helping others in the Boston area. They exuded so much courage and strength. That part of this tragedy warmed my heart. I love that in the worst of times Americans stand together and help one another.

{three}
This week I caught a glimpse of the Catching Fire trailer......and OMG is it November 22nd yet? I have watched it at least four times since I first viewed it. I can't get over the details and how "dead on" this one looks. I will certainly have to read the second book again before the movie comes out. For those that have seen it what did you think of the trailer?

{four}
Now that Easter has come and gone I have been overly excited about wearing all my white! With the temperatures in the 70s and 80s this week I have been breaking out my white denim, shorts, and tops non-stop! I definitely don't hate it one bit!

{five}
Friday= Friday Fancies. One of my favorite link-ups! This week is all about neon! While I've been a little hesitant to jump onto the neon bandwagon I am loving all of these neon items from J.Crew and Kate Spade!

 
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