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Friday, January 31, 2014

What I Wore

I don't think I've ever owned a flannel shirt before now and I'm not really sure why because it is pretty awesome. To be completely honest I added it to an order of something else just to get free shipping and figured I'd return it if I didn't like it... does anyone else do that? It's warm but not too hot and layers really well with pieces under it or over it if it's too cold to wear by itself. I love the green and navy together but there were other color options too. It is from Target and I highly recommend ordering one or running out and getting one.

A close up of the shirt, jeans and boots

Flannel button-down shirt: Target, similar
Gray cardigan: Gap Outlet, similar - on sale for $13, similar - another for $13, similar
Dark wash skinny jeans: Old Navy, similar, plus size
Cognac boots: Born Sage, similar
Clear and gold earrings: Towne and Reese, almost exact, similar,
Gold necklace: Towne and Reese, similar

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said So

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Birthday Toy

I talked about this fun little "toy" in my Gift Guide for Her post and have been wanting one for awhile. Luckily my mom pays close attention to my blog and got me this lovely label maker for my birthday today :) 

I cannot wait to use this thing and label everything... spice jars, bathroom organization, mail and paper organization, craft organization... so excited to label! Well maybe not everything... I'll try not to get too carried away. I guess it's a good thing we don't own a cat. Maybe Justin will bring Lily cat with him next time he visits...

No? Okay maybe not but these look just wonderful...
Funny thing is our niece asked for a label maker for her 6th birthday this past summer. We got her one that was a little easier for a kid to use but she loves it! I mean how many 6-year-olds do you know asking for label makers? Perhaps she gets that from me :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I Wore

I used to only wear skirts to work in Spring, Summer or Fall but then it occured to me that fleece lined leggings or tights would be great under a skirt in the Winter so I picked up a thicker/wintery looking skirt while at the outlet mall. I love the combination and it kept me plenty warm! I also like a slightly longer coat like this one on colder days.

Even though I can't link the skirt from Loft Outlet there are a ton of great black and white skirt options in the links below.

Black and white skirt: Loft Outlet, similar, similar - really cheap, similar - polka dot, similar, similar, similar
Cream sweater: Gap Outlet, similar, similar, similar
Fleece lined black leggings: Marshalls, very similarvery similar - this is the brand I have my fleece tights in, similar not fleece-lined - I have these too!
Purple scarf: shop in London, similar, similar
Tan ankle booties: Target
Gray coat: Old Navy, similar, similar - on sale and really affordable! similar and also on sale
Silver filigree earrings: The Limited - seriously get a pair of these.. they are so fun and lightweight AND on sale, similar

Still loving my mantle wooden reindeer :)

Linking up to: What I Wore Wednesday, What I Wore to Work, Because Shanna Said So

Monday, January 27, 2014

Shrimp Tomato Zucchini Corn Stir Fry

Doesn't this just look like a picture of summer in the middle of winter?! My mom had been raving about Pioneer Woman's Summer Stir Fry recipe which was a different take on a stir fry... I mean how many do you know that include tomatoes.. yum! I don't normally cook a lot of Pioneer Woman recipes because they aren't usually healthy but this one was on the healthy side and I also tweaked it a bit (partially for health and partially for no access to fresh corn) and it was a great one pot meal.

Shrimp Tomato Zucchini Corn Stir Fry
adapted from Pioneer Woman, serves 4

- 1 12oz bag of raw shrimp, we used the peeled de-veined tails off but PW uses tails on
- 2 large zucchini, cut into slices
- 1 1/2-2 cups frozen corn, thawed and dried or 2 ears fresh corn if in season
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (PW uses butter and olive oil)
- salt and pepper to taste

Start by prepping all your ingredients since everything cooks pretty quickly. Make sure the corn is definitely dry so it doesn't water anything down.

Heat 1 1/2 olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic. When hot, add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and place on a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add zucchini in single layer if possible and cook one minute. Move to the edges of the pan and add corn to the middle of the pan and cook one minute. Add tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and toss. Add back shrimp and cook additional 30 seconds. Let cool and serve.

I am really drawn to colorful meals with lots of veggies and this definitely fulfilled that. I can imagine it is better with fresh corn so I cannot wait to try it again this summer.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What I Wore

We went out with friends on Saturday to a brewery and then to dinner. I also had a coat I wore over it while we were walking around outside since it has been quite chilly most evenings. I've also decided that while it's on the edge of qualifying as something I could wear to work (being a tunic and not a dress so it's on the short side) that I have no problem wearing it to work as long as I'm not meeting with any of the executives. Business casual is really open to interpretation sometimes and I've definitely seen others in the office wearing more casual items so there is my reasoning :)

If you don't own any fleece lined leggings, you should get on that immediately. They are heavenly.

I am so happy to have finally found a great tunic sweater to wear with leggings and boots that meet the criteria of covering the hiney and crotch. We all know that leggings are NOT pants.  It would also look cute with skinny jeans. I wasn't sure at first about the dolman sleeves because I don't typically like that style but dolman looseness was pretty minimal and I loved how it fit and had cute pockets in the front. Nordstrom has a few other cute tunic sweaters that I included links for with the tunic below.

Black tunic sweater: Nordstrom, similar 3/4 sleeves multiple color options, similar multiple color options
Gray fleece lined leggings: Marshall's, very similarsimilar not fleece-lined - I have these too!
Multi-color scarf: Ivy & Leo, similar, similar infinity, similar
Cognac flat boots: Born Sage, similar, similar
Gold earrings: Towne & Reese, similar, similar

Linking up to: What I Wore Wednesday, What I Wore to Work, Because Shanna Said So

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Custom Design Heat Transfer Vinyl Pillow

I cannot believe I forgot to share this pillow I made back in September until now. My friend Brittany, the awesome photographer I have talked about before who teaches the best Intro to DSLR class was opening her own office space in Charlotte so I decided to make her a custom pillow for her couch.

For the pillow part I cut two square of beige lightly speckled textured fabric (they sell this with all the white and beige fabrics in varying thicknesses in most fabric stores). I don't remember the exact size I cut but I think it was probably 10x10. You can of course make it whatever size you desire.

I've used freezer paper stenciling on pillows before but never the t-shirt vinyl. First I made the design in the Silhouette software. One design is this camera with the word moments that I got as a freebie in the Silhouette software store awhile back and then I added some extra text to the design. Another design I did was Brittany Lauren Photography's logo. I just picked the font and spacing that was the closest to her logo since the images of her logo I tried to pull online weren't of high enough quality for the software. I got pretty darn close. Then it was really simple to add in the dots.

I cut the designs using black heat transfer vinyl from Expressions Vinyl and then ironed them onto the beige fabric for a double sized pillow. I will say that next time I use the vinyl for a pillow I will make sure the design does not have such thin or skinny pieces to the design like the logo did. It was difficult to weed the vinyl off and then also gave me a hard time when ironing it to stick to the fabric. The camera design side had no issues except for the "this" since it was thin. So that is my advice for working with heat transfer vinyl.

Then I sewed the right sides of the pillow squares together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance leaving a small opening. Next I turned it right side out and stuffed it with fiber fill and hand sewed the opening closed. The hand sewing is my least favorite part... I feel like it never looks as good as I want it to.

I love the way the pillow turned out! It is so fun to make something custom or handmade that you know cannot be bought and really means something to the person you are giving it to.

And Brittany really loved it too! It was a great addition to her fabulously decorated new office.

Hope this inspires you to try using vinyl on pillows if you haven't yet. A pillow with a person's monogram or wedding date in vinyl would make a great gift too. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What I Wore

This is what I wore on New Year's Eve out to dinner with Eric and my parents but I am also wearing it to work one day this week for an important meeting. I really love all the colors in the dress and I think it will also look great with different cardigans.

Outfit details
Black collarless blazer: Ivy & Leo Boutique; similar; similarsimilar but with collar similar but with collar these are great affordable classic blazers
Purple pink black multicolored dress: Loft Outlet recently; similarsimilar but blue
Purple fleece lined leggings: Marshall's; similar; similar
Tan boots: BCBG; similar; similar
Cognac purse: Target; similar; similar
Gold filigree earrings: The Limited 50% off these earrings are one of my go-to pairs- highly recommend, they have them in silver too; similar

Close up of the awesome gold filigree earrings.

And I wore my hair in a bun again (this time a low bun) after I first learned how here in this outfit post. Buy this or this if you want a great bun tool like what I use (also called a hair donut). They comes in blonde, brunette and black and the 2nd link has different sizes of buns. I guess redheads feel out of luck but your hair fully covers the bun tool so I think they could use the one for brunettes or blondes just choosing whatever is closest to their hair color.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Family Room colors and Modern Yardage to the rescue

When we moved into our new house I decided on a color palette for our open family room and kitchen and breakfast area. We did light gray paint on the walls and I wanted accents of teal / turquoise, coral and cobalt / royal blue.  The problem was I could not find fabric with all 3 colors in it if my life depended on it. And I looked everywhere... in a bunch of different fabric stores and online and I had my mom look for me in FL too. It is slightly tricky these colors have multiple possible names too... in some cases the same shade can be called teal or turquoise or aqua.

Then my mom suggested I email Modern Yardage which had just recently started popping up in different blogs with giveaways and such. They had really vibrant and fun fabrics on their website but just not in the colors I was looking for so I emailed to see if they would take requests. I heard back really quickly from one of the designers saying that yes they could work with me and she told me to pick out some prints that I liked.

I picked out 3 different prints from 3 different lovely designers (Heather Dutton, Katie Schrader and Cindy Lindgren). Then we all had a few emails back and forth where I told them about my color scheme and explained where I wanted which colors in the fabric designs. I had Sherwin Williams paint chips that I was going by for my vision and they went and picked up the same paint chips so they could all collectively pick fabric colors that were the closest to the paint chips. How awesome is that! They had swatches made and mailed them (along with sweet personal cards) to me ensure it was what I wanted before putting the fabrics on the website for purchase.

The 3 fabrics are called Take Flight in Aqua (the arrow like one), Bog Stars in Coral (the diamond like one) and Dance in Coral (the flower one). My mom was a big help in picking fabrics that would complement each other and then I decided on where the colors should be. I decided to have two of the fabrics have all 3 of my colors and one fabric just have 2. They all turned out fabulous!

I honestly cannot say enough great things about Modern Yardage and the designers. They changed fabric design colors just for me at no extra cost. Their fabric is very reasonable at $10.99 a yard, high quality, pre-shrunk and slightly heavier than traditional quilting weight fabric. They also put fun tips and info and stuff on the sides of the fabric (all fabric is 44 in wide but printed on 58 in wide fabric). I would not hesitate to buy more fabric there. I did notice they recently added a section to their website mentioning altering designs they already offer (so the process I went through) under Custom Fabric Designs.

I started off by ordering a yard of each thinking about pillows and such although I haven't started on anything just yet. And I think I will be ordering more of the Take Flight to make two decorative curtain panels for the family room.

These colors looks great with the teal chairs in the family room from World Market. This teal is a few shades darker than the teal on the paint chip/fabrics which is good... don't want to be too matchy matchy :)  I definitely want to eventually incorporate a painted piece of furniture or two in the color scheme too... thinking something painted that coral shade.

It seriously baffled me that I could not find these colors together in a fabric because I think they look fantastic together. Maybe I'm just completely ahead of the next big color combination :)  It even translates into fashion and I like wearing two or three of these colors together.

I compiled some affordable options below. For example you could wear this dress OR this top with jeans with the cardigan and earrings.

turquoise dress-cheers to you dress in turquoise   turquoise-factory layering crewneck tee Old Navy-womens the diva distressed skinny jeans
 coral cardigan-jackie cardigan cobalt earrings-kendra scott pearcut chandelier earrings cobalt

Or you could wear these jeans with the top, the cardigan and that necklace and bracelet. Super cute right?

coral jeans-678 zipper ankle skinny jean     gray top-sooner or layer top     royal blue cardigan-charter school cardigan in royal blue   
aqua necklace-forever 21 sweet talk bib coral aqua bracelet-fornash gecko bangle oprahs o list item

I hope to start soon on some of the pillows and order fabric for the curtains but I'm definitely going to wait to tackle those until I have the help of my mom as I've never made curtains before. Keep an eye out for combining turquoise, coral and cobalt into awesome decor or even an outfit!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Comfortable Stylish Flat Boots

It's about time that I blogged about my favorite pair of boots, Born Sage boots. I got my first pair of these over two years ago after ordering a boatload of boots from zappos and returning all of them but these. They are comfortable the second you put them on and need no breaking in... I mean it when I say I've worn them walking around for the entire day and they never hurt. They are real leather, have a sturdy sole and great support.

I own 3 pairs of this boot. Yes, you read that right, 3 pairs. One in tan which is more of a brown/tan, one in medium brown and one in a charcoal gray. Every time I wear them I get compliments on them. The buttons on the side really make the boot. I am a thrifty person but these boots were worth every penny and then some. I believe in buying shoes that will last and don't mind paying more for that (unless it is a trend you think will fade quickly).

born sage-born sage vintage boots

Good new for you is that these are on sale! If they do not have your size online I would recommend writing down the item number and calling Dillard's to see if they have it at your local store or have them shipped to you from a store that does have them (the associate can look it up in their system). I did this with my tan pair and they shipped them from a store in another state and they arrived 3 days later. Of course if they didn't fit or whatever you could return them to your local Dillard's if you don't want to pay return shipping. Dillard's stores have had the tan and black in stock.

These boots look great with everything! They run pretty true to size. I usually wear a 6 or 6 1/2 in shoes and I wear a 6 in these. I also have a narrow foot so that is why. I love that these do not have as tall of a boot shaft as some other riding boots so it still looks great if you are short.

If this isn't enough convincing to get these boots, my SIL has seen me wear these for awhile and even all over Europe for two weeks last summer and decided to get herself a tan pair and she loves them too!

Here are some photos of me in the boots

Here are a few other similar boots. All of these seem great for casual outfits or dressier outfits. I could wear any of them to work.

Børn-born terri boots
Born Terri also on sale and in tan and black

Børn-born born cheyenne boot
Born Cheyenne if you are looking for a slight heel

Børn-born lizzie black full grain footwear
Born Lizzie fun nail head detail, in brown and black

sam edelman penny-sam edelman penny boot

Sam Edelman Penny my coworker has these and they are comfortable and even cuter in person, comes in brown and black. Occasionally they go on sale even more so keep checking on that if you like these.

If you don't own any flat riding boots I'd say start with a brown or tan pair because I think it is the most versatile (remember brown boots with black jeans or leggings are really in style!) and then add in a black or gray pair.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I Wore

What I wore out on a Saturday night for a tree lighting, drinks and dinner with two of our favorite people.

This denim jacket was really affordable but has held up nicely and I've really gotten a lot of wear out of it and I don't see it stopping anytime soon. Such a versatile piece, highly recommend!

Coral striped sweater: Banana Republic Outlet, similar, similar
Denim jacket: Old Navy, similar, similar
Gray skinny jeans: Old Navy Rockstar Super Skinny, similar, similar
Turquoise scarf: Pashmina from London (not an infinity scarf but I styled it that way), similar, similar
Tan boots: BCBG, similar, similar
Turquoise earrings: Francesca's, similar, similar, similar 30% off

Oh and if you are looking for a light gray vest like Katie's below here is a similar one but in fleece. I think Katie got hers at REI but I couldn't find the exact one.

Linking up to: What I Wore Wednesday

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Clemson vs. FSU Reunion Weekend

Once a year my wonderful college roommates (along with significant others, family, current roommates and other friends) get together in the place that feels like home to us.... Clemson, of course. This year we picked the Clemson vs. FSU weekend of Oct 18th which also happened to be a weekend Clemson had ESPN College GameDay.

Eric and I took a half day Friday and drove down. After dropping our stuff at the apartment we rented, we went straight to downtown which was already packed. We met up with The Morgan gang and Brooke to do some shopping and then made our way over to Bowman where the game day crew was getting everything ready. I will say as someone who really appreciates processes and planning, they must have it all down pat to roll in with dozens of big trucks, set up the whole stage, surrounding areas, crowd cameras on wires, Heisman house, line up all the special stories and speakers and guests all in 6 days notice!

Vickie and I spotted Danni, the winner of the Biggest Loser and Clemson alum, on Bowman field and took a photo with her and Tom (an FSU alum).We both enjoy the show and they still looked fantastic.

Next we headed over to Mellow Mushroom for dinner, delicious as usual.

Then in keeping with our tradition we had drinks and watched football that night at Tiger Town Tavern. The UCF game was on (strangely often when we have reunion weekend UCF is playing that Friday night) which works out nicely since Kelly went to UCF and Vickie went to grad school there. This is when many others for our reunion arrive in Clemson too and meet us at TTT.

The next morning we were up bright and early, out at the tailgate at 7:45am. Yep, more than 12 hours before gametime. If you didn't know, tailgating in Clemson is epic. We had 3 tailgating spots in Strom this year and set up 3 tents which was needed as it was sort of drizzly for the first couple hours.

We started off with breakfast foods and mimosas. I packed mini muffins into a baking disk so I could use my festive casserole carrier. Is it just great?

And you may have already read about the burlap banner I made.

These are the wonderful girls I spent 4 years with and I love that we all come together once a year. Also mimosas are so fun in mason jars don't you think? Or any drink for that matter.

Megan and Keith came to the tailgate this year too.

Clemson love :)

This was our sweet set up

We headed over to Bowman field for the gameday stuff around 10:30. We didn't want to stand out there for all 3 hours but we caught all the picks which is the best part. We were pretty close to the crowd camera line of sight so we may have even been on tv.

There was certainly a good showing with lots of creative signs. The tiger on the wrecking ball was great. There was a rather inappropriate sign some FSU fans made that I will not post a photo of here but it was only up for about 2 minutes before they were made to take it down. It's something you don't know about unless you are in person but ESPN does regulate the signs for anything inappropriate.

After gameday ended we headed back to the tailgate.

We played lots of cornhole and had lunch. This year we did a sign up on facebook for bringing food and I think it worked out really well.

It is rare that I get to see both of my littles together but due to a last minute trip decision both Jessica and Christa were in Clemson.

Emily and Justin joined us at the tailgate later in the day too so we were able to get a group shot of that group of friends/family.

The LaForce couples

A shot of all the girls that lived in Tillman 920. Always awesome to have all 5 of us.

We had an early dinner so we could pack up most of the tailgate and walk to the stadium to be in there with plenty of time for kickoff as we knew the walk there would be packed with people as well as the stadium with it being a sold out game.

There is just something special about the walk to the stadium with thousands of fans all packed together and hyped up. It is really hard to capture in a photo but those of you who have experienced this in person know what I mean.

Then it was gametime!

You can really see how packed the stadium is. I am sure it was close to record attendance and it was super loud.

Wall to wall student section on the hill. Everyone was so excited and jumping around but shortly after that all the fun ended when Clemson just was not prepared to play FSU and made many mistakes even right off the bat and then lost the game 14-51.

Even though that was not the outcome we were looking for and it ended my perfect streak of FSU losing whenever I was in attendance, we had a such wonderful weekend leading up to the first play.

We have great memories to hold us over until the 2014 reunion weekend. Love you ladies!
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