When it comes to completing an outfit, the right accessories can make or break your look. I’ve never believed that you have to spend a big chunk of your budget on accent pieces – it’s all about knowing where to find those special styles that look high-end. As always, I recommend shopping sales whenever possible and, when you’re browsing the racks at an affordable retailer, pay close attention to detail and craftsmanship.
For example, some faux leathers can look & feel like the real thing, while others can resemble cheap PVC. Sticking with neutrals is always a safe bet because they tend to look more expensive than their bright or pastel counterparts – plus, they’ll be more versatile for wearing with items you already own. Below I’ve rounded up some of the best accessories under $50 that will transition seamlessly into fall & add instant polish and sophistication to your wardrobe:
Today is the day the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens to the general public! If you aren’t a cardholder & are interested in shopping the sale, you’ll want to act fast as items are selling out quickly. Rather than creating a collage with rows & rows of products, this year I decided to make complete outfits using pieces from the sale. So many of you have mentioned that this is more helpful for giving you pairing ideas, plus if you struggle with putting items together, you can order a complete look while everything is on sale. I’d love to hear which is your favorite below & what you’re planning on ordering for fall!
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but blue & white is my favorite combination for summer. It always looks classic & chic and it’s easy to pair with other hues (try a fun pop of color like red, pink or turquoise!). So, for this week’s round-up, I’m sharing some of the best summer styles in this fresh color palette. If you’re working towards building a capsule wardrobe for the season, these pieces would be excellent versatile options to include!
LOVING Headbands are back in a big way this season and I, for one, am loving them – these aren’t the cheap plastic styles with built-in teeth like we wore in the 90’s. The modern interpretation of this trend includes chic knotted styles in varying fabrics & textures – and the best part is that you can wear one regardless of your hair length (curly or straight!). This is such an affordable way to instantly update your look for summer + they’re a practical way to manage your hair on those hot & humid days. Try a designer-inspired pattern, a pearl-embellished style, a textured option in raffia & wicker or a classic summer print like gingham or florals.
USING I’ve tested tons of makeup primers through the years and always keep coming back to the Smashbox Photo Finish. That is, until I was sent a sample of this It Cosmetics Primer – I reluctantly gave it a try and immediately thought I hated it because the consistency was so different than what I normally use. But then, when I saw how my makeup wore throughout the day, I was stunned & realized it was far better than my old stand-by. If you live in a hot, humid climate, you will love this product!
READING I was never someone who envisioned myself going back to work full-time after I had my kids – all I ever wanted to be was a wife & mother, so having a career simply wasn’t on my list of life goals. Even though starting my blog was a choice I made, turning into a business came out of necessity when my husband lost his job. I struggled a lot with the transition from being focused solely on my kids to balancing a job while keeping up with the duties of motherhood. This article talks about why the descriptors of “working mom” and “stay at home mom” are problematic – and, having experienced both sides, I think it’s articulated very well. We have a long way to go in this area of recognizing the tremendous work of those who are caretakers & also those who work because they have to provide for their families. But, I think eliminating these titles is a great first step.
MAKING I’ve gotten so hooked on Indian food during my trip that I know I’m going to be missing it once my travels come to an end. So, I’m already searching for recipes I can make at home that will fit within my dietary restrictions. First up is this Paleo Garlic Naan (only 6 ingredients & super easy!), this Butter Chicken (Whole30-approved!) & these vegetable samosas (a bit more work, but so delish!).
CRAVING I love collecting those special pieces that have a one-of-a-kind feel – you know, the ones that everyone compliments you on & asks where you found them. I have a couple of vintage items like this from thrift/antique stores (a great place to look), but I’m always on the hunt for more. This straw bucket bag is so intricately made that it looks like it came from a local artisan shop & I appreciate that it comes with a neutral drawstring liner so your contents aren’t on display. It’s a bit out of my price range, so I’m patiently waiting for a sale to scoop it up. There’s also a similar design in a larger size here. More standout pieces I’m loving: this crocheted top (love this one too), this chunky ring set, this hand embellished bag (another option here), this embroidered blouse (dress version here) & these raffia sandals.
Embroidered pieces are some of my favorite to wear during the summer months, so when I find a great option with pretty details, I have a hard time passing it up! This skirt is one of those stand-out styles that’s so striking in person – I don’t wear a lot of skirts that are fitted like this, but I loved the pattern & the scalloped hem so I made an exception. I picked it up during a recent 40% off sale & I have to say that it was worth every penny!
I went down one from my usual size (which I typically do at LOFT) & I ordered the regular length (I’m 5’8″), but it also comes in petite & tall. Because the embroidery is fairly busy, I suggest pairing this with a more simple top – even a basic white tee would work, but a blush blouse would also be gorgeous. Check out more of my favorite embroidered pieces for the season in the scrolling bar below!
When it comes to sleepwear, I seem to have an abundance of cute matching sets & flannel pajamas for the cold weather months…but when it comes to summer, it ends up being a random mix of any tank or t-shirt + short pairing I can find. And, while there’s nothing wrong with getting by with old basics, there’s something to be said for slipping into a fresh pair of pj’s each night. So, this season, I’m on a mission to update my pajama drawer with some pieces that feel age-appropriate while still being comfortable. For those who are looking to do the same, I’ve rounded up some great affordable options below – whether you prefer shorts, cami’s, shirts or pants, there’s something here for everyone!
I hope everyone had a fun & safe 4th of July – it was a little strange to be out of the country and not be celebrating our nation’s holiday. As we head into the weekend, I thought I’d share a few things I’m loving now in fun prints with a few well-placed pops of color – red, black & white were my school colors, so I’m always partial to this classic combination. And the best part is that everything you see here is under $50!
I just love writing these posts each month – even though they are sometimes a really random mix of things that are totally unrelated to beauty & fashion, it’s a great chance for me to share “real life” moments with you & give unbiased feedback on the products I’m buying & using regularly. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do – here’s a glimpse at what I’m loving this month:
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for the last couple years, but I’ve been having a hard time staying consistent with it lately. With this app, you can set reminders to jot down moments you’re grateful for (3 per day) & you can even add photos along with your text – mine are everything from pictures of my puppy to a new recipe that was a success to flowers blooming in my yard to much bigger things like my kids’ school awards, signing a new campaign contract, etc. I also love that you can look back through past memories on your calendar, which is the perfect pick-me-up if you’re feeling down. It’s been a great way for me to stay positive and stay focused on the good in my life – highly recommend giving it a shot if you aren’t already utilizing something similar!
Ever since I started having balayage highlights put into my hair, I’ve been on a constant mission to keep them looking good. The purple shampoo I was previously using started to have a drying effect on my hair, so I wanted to find an alternative product that would achieve the same results without stripping the moisture from my strands. I just discovered this mousse & have been using it about every 2-3 washes to keep my highlights bright & to cancel out any brassiness. It works like leave-in toner/conditioner & makes such a big difference (there’s one for brunettes & darker hair and one for blondes). I apply it immediately after towel drying my hair, from roots to end & then I use this wide-tooth comb to ensure it’s evenly distributed. If you want to test it out before buying the larger bottle, you can purchase the mini size here or here.
We’ve been spending a lot of time beautifying our yard this year – from digging up dead bushes, putting in new flowers & shrubs to finally getting planter boxes for our front porch. It’s meant a lot of hard work on the weekends, but we are starting to enjoy the fruits of our labor! One of my least favorite tasks when it comes to yard work is weeding. My joints can’t handle all the hunching over and kneeling that it takes, so usually my husband takes care of it. But, when I came across this handy tool, I knew it would help me get back in the game. Not only does it make the arduous task of weeding a total breeze, but it saves your back & knees from being sore the next day because you can operate it while standing upright the entire time. It’s so satisfying (& slightly addicting) and it’s super easy to use – even my son can do it (if you click through the link, there’s a video you can watch to see how it works).
MASCARA WAND RECYCLING
I’m always looking for ways that I can be more environmentally-conscious and I recently learned about an easy way to recycle old mascara wands that benefits a great cause! When you’re done with a tube of mascara, instead of throwing it away, simply wash the wand with Dawn soap to remove all mascara residue, let it dry & place in a sealable bag (I wait until I have 5 or more to send at a time). Then, drop them in the mail to a Wildlife Refuge Center – they can use them to clean away oil, larvae, mites, mud & other contaminants from wildlife. I’ve been sending mine to: Appalachian Wild, P.O. Box 1211, Skyland, NC 28776 (you can also call your nearest local center to see if they accept donations). Such a simple way to help & all it takes is the cost of postage!
File this under things I should have purchased a long time ago. A couple of years back, a hair stylist friend of mine suggested that I get a filter for my shower and I remember thinking, “how much difference could that really make?”. I brushed it off and never thought of it again…until my functional medicine doctor brought it up to me during a recent visit. So, I decided to finally give it a try – I did an obscene amount of research before pulling the trigger on this one. My two biggest concerns were that it would be too difficult to install & that it would cut down on our water pressure (which is already not the greatest). But, we’ve been so happy with it and I cannot believe the change I’ve noticed in my hair & skin since we put it in. If you have sensitive skin, are in an area with hard water or chlorine in your water, I suggest giving this a try – it’s a total game-changer!
As I was packing & purchasing items for my India trip, I came across this handy case on Amazon & immediately added it to my cart. It comes with a beauty blender sponge (if you don’t already own one) & is made from shatterproof silicone so it’s super-durable. This keeps your sponge protected from getting stained from other products in your bag + the holes provide proper ventilation so it can dry completely. This is so perfect if you travel a lot for work or have summer vacations planned – you can also just throw it in your purse if you need to do your makeup on the go. For only $12.99, it’s a must-have!
I’m guilty of wearing pretty much all black & gray when I work out (especially in the cold weather months), but when I was at the gym the other day, I saw this girl in the cutest pastel matching set and, right then, I decided I needed to revamp my activewear for the new season. There are so many bright colors & fun prints available right now – I did a little digging & came up with some great affordable options so you can buy several or mix & match with what you already own. Here are my favorites:
Today is the second installment of my India trip details (see the first here) and this post will be focused on what I’m planning on wearing. For the second half of my trip, I will be in Delhi & Agra (including a day visit to the Taj Mahal). I’ve done tons of research on the appropriate wardrobe for women in India and it was honestly way more challenging to put outfits together than I thought it would be! It was really important to me to find options that be respectfully modest & that would honor their culture. Women are required to have their shoulders, knees & bottoms loosely covered at all times & to not wear anything too form-fitting or low-cut/revealing.
To make things even more challenging, it’s going to be over 100 degrees every day, so I had to find pieces in the lightest fabrics possible & in breezy silhouettes that would help me stay cool. I didn’t want to spend a fortune to buy a whole new wardrobe for this trip, so I did my best to shop the sales + I scored some great affordable Amazon finds! I also get a monthly StitchFix and was able to send a note to my stylist to request some modest items, so I’m bringing along a skirt & maxi dress they sent me in my latest box. After multiple online orders (and several returns), I think I’ve finally come up with some solid options for the days I’ll be in the city.
A couple of the dresses might need to be pinned due to slits (same goes for the pink button-down shirt, which is just a bit too low) – and, of course, I plan on wearing the off-the-shoulder top up on my shoulders to provide appropriate coverage. I also did a lot of thinking about accessories & shoes and ended up deciding not to take any jewelry, though I’m hoping to buy some local pieces while I’m there. I’m pretty much wearing the same two pairs of shoes – one with covered toes (for dusty locations) and the other with good cushioning for the days we’ll be doing more walking. The only accessories I’m bringing are this visor (which has UPF 50+) and my belt bag (which I plan on wearing every day). Here are the looks I have planned:
I’m currently in Toronto as I write this & tonight I finally leave to head on my way to India! I have posts lined up that will continue to publish here while I’m gone, but I will have limited access to emails so if you comment or ask a question, please be patient with me & I promise to get back to you as quickly as I can. I will try to share some real-time photos & videos on Instagram Stories so those who are interested can follow along with me here. In the meantime, here are some great sales to check out this weekend & some fun summer finds under $60: