Friday, June 28, 2013

Just What the Doctor Ordered

I hate to write a blog post and whine because i know that my life is pretty easy, but can you indulge me for just a few sentences? Curtis commented that I looked sad yesterday when he was taking my photos (thanks!), but really I'm not. I just had a horrible headache all day! It was relentless and super painful and definitely showed through in my face.

Add to that the fact that I had been dealing with some sort of stomach virus I picked up from the kid, AND we didn't have any hot water yesterday morning or internet, and I just struggled  most of the day. However, I was in love with this super cute dress I picked up on clearance from Old Navy, and I didn't want to wait for a blog post!

Maxi Dress- Old Navy (plus size! Also available in maternity!)
Cardigan- JC Penney (similar, similar, similar )

It's times like that when you are feeling down in the dumps, that it's so amazing to have great friends! It really puts things into perspective. I was feeling down and checked my mail, and my BBFF (Blogging Best Friend Forever) Megan from Feathers and Freckles had sent me a little random care package! It really brightened my day! Look at that precious little necklace she made :)

Sometimes a touch of kindness is just what the doctor ordered! Hoping you have a kind (and beautiful) weekend!

P.S. Today is your last chance to enter to win a pair of Bandelettes! Do it NOW!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Puttin' on the RItz

Sometimes I think simple outfits can be the most elegant. Saturday night we went over to a friend's house for a backyard barbecue. Anytime I am outside I am like an "All You Can Eat" buffet for mosquitoes, so I decided to wear a very lightweight pair of chambray pants to protect my legs.To dress up a plain white tee and jeans, I added one of my favorite statement necklaces.

White T-Shirt- Target (similar)
Chambray pants - New York & Co (old, similar here, here)
Cork Sandals- Cato's (no website-similar, similar)
Jewelry- Premier Designs
I've been looking for a pair of cork sandals for a couple of months now, so I was very pleased to find this pair with gold medallions at my local Cato's! I am loving the cork look, super laid back and casual, but the gold dresses it up, just like the jewelry dresses up the basic outfit! I just can't be bothered to fuss too much with hair and makeup and clothes when it's so hot outside, you know?

Speaking of hot, you only have a few more days to enter to win a pair of Bandelettes to prevent inner thigh chafing all summer long! Check out my original post for all the details and your chance to win!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Casual Cool

We celebrated Friday's Summer Solstice by staying up late playing at the park and gorging on Chinese food. While the calendar declares that summer has officially begun, it's always a poignant reminder that summer is about halfway over for students and teachers in my part of the country. Sean loves going to this park because it has a "creek", which I'm not entirely convinced isn't just sewage drainage, and a "secret spot" where we like to take photos.

White Top- Old Navy (same)
Print Shorts- Old Navy (same)
Purple Cami- NY & Co (super old, similar)
Adrina Flats- Crocs (same)

My necklace and earrings are one of my favorite sets from Premier Designs' spring line. Casual Cool is a super versatile necklace and pendant set that can be worn short and doubled or long and with or with out the pendant. Additionally, the pendant is reversible- so that doubles your options! The beads are clear, silver and a very icy blue- It's a great neutral piece for many summer outfits and I wear it a lot.

The earrings are equally versatile (and the metal pendants are reversible on the earrings as well!) I love love LOVE jewelry that can be worn multiple ways. First, you get more bang for your buck, and who doesn't like that?! Secondly, I like to call pieces like Casual Cool "vacation" jewelry- I could take this one necklace and one set of earrings on my vacation and have a different look every day.

So do you have essential summer jewelry pieces? Or do you avoid jewelry at all costs during the sweltering summer months?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beat the Heat This Summer!

Last week I introduced you to my new favorite product for preventing inner thigh chafing- Bandelettes, and now to celebrate the first day of summer and the sticky sweaty days to come, Hems for Her and Bandelettes are giving away a free pair to TWO lucky readers. Bandelettes come in multiple sizes because anyone can suffer from chub rub and two different colors, so be sure to enter to win! Bandelettes is also offering 15% off of all online purchases using the special Hems for Her reader code "KATIE"! Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Dressing

Sometimes in the summer it just just so hot, you just can't be bothered to do anything too fussy. After getting way too much sun my first day of "vacation", everyone just needed to be thankful that I got dressed at all!

My family has lived on the lake for over 15 years, but we've always spent summers there (since my mom was a little girl)! I love getting away from everything for a few days- no internet, unpredictable cell service- and just relaxing in the lake, on the boat, or from the screened-in front porch. It reminds me of a simpler time in my life, you know?

Striped Hi-Lo Dress- Cato's, not available online (similar, similar,similar)
Bronze Wedge Sandals-???? (similar, similar)

This dress is trendy in so many ways. Cool hi-lo hem? Check. Colorful stripes? Check. Light and airy and not rubbing against any of my painfully sunburned parts? Check! If you are lucky enough to have a Cato's nearby, they've got lots of awesome dresses in right now!

I'm home right now because I had to go to a training meeting last night, but as soon as I publish this post, I'm headed back up to that little piece of laid-back, summertime heaven, and scenes similar to these below will be waiting for me when I get there! Hope you are having a great Wednesday :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fit to be Tie- Dyed

I love wearing super bright colors in the summertime, and this NY Collection dress borrowed from Gwynnie Bee this week was a dream come true. I was a little uncertain at first, so I tried it on and showed my toughest critic, my five-year-old son Sean. He looked up from his video game, and said (mostly sincerely, I think), "You look great, duh!" That decided, we went out to lunch!

This dress was super light and airy, perfect for hot summer days. It's the first time I've worn a hankerchief hem, but I liked the flowy, twirly effect it provided. This reminded me of the tie-dye shirts we used to make in the summers of my youth. Super bright, super saturated, super swirly- I'm clearly super smitten!

NY Collection Dress: c/o Gwynnie Bee

I'll be honest, I usually send my Gwynnie Bee dresses back after one wear, so I can get my hands on something else, but I'm keeping this one to wear a couple more times!

After my most recent complaint about "chub-rub", the ladies at Bandelettes offered to send me a sample of their inner thigh guards to try out and review for you- my fellow chafing sufferers. The idea is simple. Imagine wearing the upper band of a pair of thigh highs- keeps your thighs from rubbing together, right? Well, that's what Bandelettes are, except better!

I hate wearing thigh highs because they are constantly rolling down.However, Bandelettes are about twice the size of the band on traditional thigh highs and have a double-row of stay-put silicone. I wore them all day in the southern heat and humidity, and they didn't budge! In fact, I totally forgot about them completely. The only thing I missed was the stomach smoothing capabilities of my Spanx or bike shorts. However, when it's 90 degrees or hotter outside, it was wonderful to not feel suffocated with heavy Lycra.

The price point of $14.99 is very reasonable as well. I got the nude pair for review, and I will definitely be buying a few more pairs to keep in rotation. I pretty much live in dresses and skirts, so this is perfect for me. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Disclaimer: The Bandelettes were provided free of charge for review. However, all opinions are mine.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

7 X 7: 7 Pieces, 7 Ways

I don't usually participate in link-ups but I adore Audrey from Putting Me Together so much- I just couldn't resist. I am a total failure at "remixing" my outfits, so this was a perfect opportunity to practice my skills. And I am going on a little vacation at the end of this week. Packing done!

The idea is simple- pick seven pieces from your wardrobe (including shoes) and create seven outfits. Audrey truly is the queen of this, so I followed her "formula" closely, picking three tops, three bottoms and one pair of sandals. Here are the seven pieces I picked!

My pieces include:

1 Black Maxi Dress from Old Navy (Similar)
1 Slouchy Top in a Bright Color from Old Navy (Exact)
1 Brightly Colored, Lightweight Cardigan from Lane Bryant (Similar)
1 Funky Printed Tank Top from Forever 21 (Exact)
1 Pair of Neutral Wedges from Kohl's (Similar)
1 Pair of Cut-Off Shorts from Old Navy (Exact)
1 Pair of White Pants from Old Navy (Exact)

Here are the outfits I created by mixing and matching my pieces.

Outfit # 1

Funky and bright was the intention of most of my seven outfits. I flipped for this elephant tank from Forever 21, and I know it will be well-worn this summer. I paired it with simple cut-offs and a light-weight cardigan. Even though I live in the South, cardigans are still a summertime necessity thanks to super-powered A/C in the car, the house, the theater, the restaurant, etc.,etc.

Outfit # 2

I replaced the tank and cardigan with an oversized, slouchy orange top for this outfit. I am in love with the color orange for this summer, so this top was a no brainer! I am wearing a tried and true pair of neutral wedges with all of these outfits. This is great for packing because I am usually the gal who packs more shoes than clothes!

Outfit # 3

I love how the turquoise in the sweater and the mosaic colors in the tank pop against these great white pants. I don't get a lot of wear out of pants in the summer months, but these can easily be interchanged for my white shorts!

Outfit # 4

I think this was my favorite of the bunch. Instead of picking a maxi skirt as one of my pieces, I chose this dress. The dress is an outfit all it's on, and it can count as a bottom when layered with my tops- like this off-the-shoulder one!

Outfit # 5

Or maybe this one is my favorite... I really can't get over this tank top! I could also take off the cardigan if I was somewhere that was super hot.

Outfit # 6

I didn't pair jewelry with any of these outfits, because later I want to do a post talking about how easily you can use jewelry and accessories to dress up or dress down an outfit! Stay tuned :)

Outfit # 7

Wondering why this outfit is inside while all the rest were taken outside? Well, I am an English teacher! I thought I had already taken 7 outfit photos until I started putting this post together late Tuesday night... then I realized, I am an idiot and scrambled to take another one! Yep.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sponsored Post: Schick Hydro Silk Razorvention™ Revamp

Ever heard that saying about change? You know the one that says, "The only constant in life is change"? Change is a good thing. Because I am a blogger, I can easily go back through my archives and see the many changes in my life. I am in a state of constant revamping and upgrading- new haircut, new clothes, weight loss, redoing rooms in the house. Change, change, change!

My BIGGEST change so far this year!

So when Schick Hydro Silk offered me the chance to upgrade my shaving experience and make the change to their new razor, I accepted. It's summertime, so I am shaving WAY more than I do in the winter months. And even though I have been shaving for over TWENTY years, I still end up nicking myself! Some things never change!

Does anyone out there use a single blade cheapo anymore? I feel like that's akin to mowing your yard with cuticle scissors, you know?!? I have always paid a little extra for nice multi-blade disposable razor, but the Schick Hydro Silk® razor is truly the ideal razor for busy women. 

What? You mean you DON'T dry shave outside?

Schick Hydro Silk® razors contain:
  • Water Activated Moisturizing Serum – hydrates throughout each shave and for up to 2 hours after to help replenish skin's natural moisture
  • Five Curve-Sensing Blades – deliver an incredibly close shave and glides over a woman's curves
  • Unique Skin Guards – smooth the skin while shaving helping to protect from irritation  
  • Compact Oval cartridge shape – fits easily into hard to reach areas and is designed exclusively for the contours of a woman’s body
  • Soft touch Handle – Aqueous Soft Touch Handle is ergonomic by design with a soft rubber grip, and is inspired by water for a beautiful look
After using it a couple of times, I can say it's a great razor- my legs definitely feel smoother and softer than with my regular razor, even hours after shaving (and forgetting to put on lotion!).  The moisturizing strip made the razor glide over my legs. At first I wasn't sure that the blades were cutting because it just felt "too smooth", you know? But I noticed I didn't have to go over the same areas more than once!

Busted! But silky smooth! ;)
Changing your razor for your daily showers seems like a little thing, but little things can make a big difference. And little changes can encourage you to make big changes!
Schick Hydro Silk® and Hems for Her want you to embrace change this season with their Razorvention™ Revamp! Upgrade your shave with Schick Hydro Silk® razor and we'll give you a chance to win fabulous summer prizes so you can upgrade other things in your life too! 
Enter the Schick Hydro Silk® Razorvention™ Revamp promotion for a chance to upgrade more than just your razor every single day through the end of June, with fabulous summer prizes in beauty, fashion, fitness and home decor. We're also giving you a chance to win amazing experiences – from a luxurious spa retreat to a $3000 shopping spree – each time you enter to win one of our daily upgrades.

How the contest works 
Explore the Razorvention™ Revamp suite to preview each week’s giveaways.  When you find an item you’d like to upgrade,simply “Like” the Schick Hydro Silk® Facebook page and submit a photo that demonstrates why you need that particular "upgrade"  along with a short explanation to make your case.  At the end of each day, Schick Hydro Silk® will select a winner. At the end of each week, there will be an additional Grand Prize sweepstakes. Fans receive one entry into the Grand Prize giveaway for each daily prize they enter to win. 

 Fans can receive one extra entry into the Grand Prize sweepstakes if they share their daily entry via Facebook, Twitter or  Google + . To help women start their Razorvention™ Revamp, they will receive a link to a digital coupon for $4.00 off a Schick Hydro Silk® razor or refill after entering for their first daily prize.


Friday, June 7, 2013

You're So Vain

One thing I deal with a lot as a plus-size blogger and self-professed fatty is treading the fine line between being confident and being conceited. Last week an off-the-cuff comment of mine on an XOVain article got another commenter all bothered. 

The story in question was the Dove sketch artist parody with the beauty editors describing themselves as total hotties. I remarked that I too would have described myself as being super hot and attractive. If you  know me personally or have read my blog for any amount of time then you would have immediately recognized my light-hearted tone. However, one reader did not, and he lashed out at me for being conceited and for making less attractive people feel bad about themselves.

Oh, Glamour Shots- why do you mock me?
Caked on make-up, bushy brows, buck teeth.
Age 11-12

At first I was certain this was a joke, but no, he was serious. So I clarified myself in another comment, but I’m still not satisfied. I’ll be honest. I was royally pissed off, and I try very, very ,VERY hard to avoid controversy on the internet. I don’t like engaging with trolls or name calling. The point of this post is not for you to run in and defend me on the other site (though several women did and for that I will be eternally grateful), but instead I want to open up a dialogue about the differences between confidence and conceit.

I have never considerate myself a conceited person, so it was a bit of a surprise to have someone call me out on my "conceitedness" in a public forum. As soon as my baby teeth fell out, I was endowed with huge bucked teeth. Right around the same time, my hormones took over and I began battling terrible acne. So I was a fifth grader with awful skin and goofy teeth. Newsflash, kids are friggin’ MEAN! I was tormented throughout elementary, junior high and high school. Nothing like a girl pointing out your zits to make you want to crawl in a hole and die. Or the guy I had a huge crush on telling me he would NEVER date me because I was a “pizza-faced vampire who wore too much make-up.”

Pizza-faced vampire wearing too much make-up... yep. He forgot to talk about my AWFUL hair!
17 years old

I suffered from low self-esteem issues for years. To cope I tried to find acceptance. I dressed in baggy, over-sized clothes that the other school “freaks” wore. I let my long hair cover my face as much as possible and rarely looked people in the eyes. I mumbled a lot, and on the rare occurrence of a smile, I always covered my mouth up to hide my teeth. We couldn’t afford braces or trips to the dermatologist, so I had to deal with it. I literally remember falling asleep with my fingers pushing against my stubborn teeth- trying to push them flat – and praying to God, “Please please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease let me be pretty.” I usually fell asleep during my litany of “pleases.” I woke up every morning, the same- ugly.

The day I got braces- the ONLY close up of my teeth
25 years old

It was a subtle shift through the years from self-loathing to self-loving. I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when I started feeling beautiful. It’s a work in progress. I wake up plenty of mornings and see my reflection and think to myself “Ugh.” But I also spend a fair amount of time looking at that same reflection, and thinking to myself, “Girl, you so fine!” Confidence and conceit aren’t even lines on the same page as far as I am concerned.

Confidence is defined as belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance”

I AM confident. I believe in myself! And on days when I don’t, I pretend I do. How can anyone else love me if I don’t love myself? What kind of teenager and adult will my son be if I hate myself and criticize my looks in front of him? What about the struggling teenage girls I am responsible for and to- don’t I want them to have a positive role model?

On the other hand, conceit is defined as an excessively favorable opinion of one's own ability, importance, wit, etc”

So what’s the difference between the two? When do you cross the line between believing in yourself and excessively believing in yourself? Is it when you look in the mirror and say to your reflection, “Girl, you so fine.”? Is it when you refuse to live by what other people tell you to believe about yourself? Is it when you finally stop seeing that self-conscious unattractive teenager in your mind’s eye?

For me, and when you are dealing with vague definitions like the ones I’ve shared above there’s a lot of room for personal opinion, the difference is this: 

Confidence is feeling beautiful no matter what other people think about you. Conceit, though, is feeling beautiful and expecting everyone else to think you are too. I guess for some people the two aren’t distinct enough to separate. I am fifty pounds overweight- most people will not find that attractive, and that is okay because my confidence comes from within, not without. I have super short hair- most people will not find that attractive, and that is okay because I like it.

If I let what other people think about me dictate my life, then I am no better than I was 15 years ago. So what do you think? Is it wrong to think of yourself as beautiful? Or does it become wrong when you proclaim to others that you think you are beautiful? Where do you draw the line?

Damn, girl! You so fine! Trend-setting at 12.
Suede coat, tights and cut-off shorts
Oh, yeah, and a friggin' beret!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I'm Thinking Arby's... and Another Striped Dress

This dress cost $8- about the same as my favorite meal at Arby's (which is a #17 with a Diet Dr. Pepper, in case you were wondering)- and even though I just posted a striped dress on Monday, I couldn't resist wearing this out to dinner the other night. That's probably a blogging faux pas, but when we are talking about dinner and a new dress, forget about blogger etiquette.

Dress- Old Navy
Peep Toe Wedges- Kohls
Ritz Necklace- Premier Designs
Sunglasses- Old Navy (similar)

I've been openly complaining about Old Navy and the quality of their dresses, but I am pleased to share that this cutie is a nice weight jersey and I think it's great, and it's a great value. It also comes in a black and white stripe, which I also bought. I've talked about big girls wearing horizontal stripes before, and I stand by the fact that I see no problem with it. The common perception is "horizontal stripes make you look wider, and what big woman wants to look wider?"

I don't get that at all. Y'all, I'm wide. Wearing or not wearing stripes won't disguise that fact, you know? In fact, I will go so far as to say I love what this dress is doing with my hips! I am very apple-shaped, all of my weight is distributed in my midsection. So the widening effect of the horizontal stripes actually works to make me look a little more hourglass-shaped. I look like I have big ol' hips and I'm loving it. 

My "hippy" look!
Oh, and by the way, we didn't eat Arby's that night- though that would've been a perfect dinner, all things considered.

Monday, June 3, 2013

What to Wear with a Black and White Striped Dress

I don't know what Curtis and I were talking about when he snapped this photo Sunday afternoon, but I felt like it was the most truthful in the bunch. I feel like I was saying "Huh?!" I had such a whirlwind weekend, by 5:00 PM Sunday, I felt like a zombie! Friday and Saturday I went back to my college town to visit with some old friends and have a couple of shows. It was such an unbelievably good time. Isn't crazy how you have some friends that even though you haven't seen them in years everything just falls back into place when you hang out again?

My wonderful sister-in-law  let me spend the night with her Friday night, and Saturday afternoon we ate lunch at literally the CUTEST restaurant EVER! It's called Chicken Salad Chick, and I am not exaggerating when I say cutest ever. I posted a few photos on Instagram while I was there.

Here's what sold me- I went to the bathroom and they had the cutest prints and sayings framed on the walls. I had the goofiest grin on my face when I came back to the table. My sis-in-law said, "Uh, what happened in the bathroom?" After I told her about the signs, she immediately decided to use the men's room hey, that's how we roll) to check out what was going on in there. She was equally impressed and amused.

This places specializes in chicken salad, in case it wasn't obvious by the name, and they didn't disappoint. Fifteen kinds of chicken salad! Oh, and pimento cheese! I guess both of those are considered "southern delicacies"? They did not disappoint! I had the "Chick Trio" so I could try three different salads- pimento cheese, Jazzy Julie (chicken salad with cayenne pepper, bacon and shredded cheese), and Olivia's Old South (traditional with sweet relish and eggs mixed in). AMAZING! Then I bought a couple of pounds of classic chicken salad and pimento cheese to take home to my husband. If it's possible to be in love with a place, then I am smitten! My sis-in-law said, "Have you ever wanted to  hug a place? Well, that's how I feel about Chicken Salad Chick!" Me too, sister, me too!

Anyway, that was not a paid endorsement/review, I just realized that this place is a chain and if there's one near you, then you need to get there FAST!

Sunday afternoon, I fancied myself up in this great Eloquii dress borrowed from Gwynnie Bee and had a jewelry show hosted by my dear friend and co-worker and fellow blogger Cherith from Diva on the Run! We had a great time of fellowship, food, and fashion. I asked for advice on accessorizing the dress and decided to go with turquoise and red, one of my favorite combinations!

Eloquii Dress c/o Gwynnie Bee
New York and Co Necklace (similar)
Red Belt (similar, similar)
Black Bow Wedges (similar, similar)
Earrings- Premier Designs
But by Sunday night I was dragging! I was thrilled to kick my heels off, take of the Spanx and relax with a Samuel Adams Summer Ale. Perfect ending.
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