A Summer Style Story: Flirty + Flowy Dresses

Summertime is always the best of what might be. - Charles Bowden

Words really can’t describe how I excited I am for summer. It may not be a big deal for all, but when you live in a state where the forecast is literally gray nine months out of the year, the breaking temperature is a welcome reprieve.

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My favorite part about summer? That I can release myself from lumpy sweaters and constricting layers! I know some of us live for fall and winter fashion but summer style is really where I live. My favorite summer style staples are sundresses, fun and bold accessories, and of course, gigantic sunnies. Bright patterned dresses are great for a casual day around town AND they can be dressed up for a night out. I like to keep my accessories simple and complimentary: a pair of earrings with a sweet ruffle detail or two necklaces, layered with each other are awesome ways to give a simple look some dimension.

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Ruffle Sleeve Wrap Midi Dress | Straw Round Bag | Necklace (similar) | Necklace (vintage)

Tell me, what are your favorite things to wear in the summer?

A Very Real Rent the Runway Review

Let’s talk about the subscription service that every girl wants.

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Sweater | Pants | Belt | Shirt | Shoes

For about a year, I have been THROWING my money at Rent the Runway. It’s kind of a problem but I’ve wanted to invest in this service for a long time. After hearing several people sing its praises and years of putting a bunch of pieces on my wish list without actually renting anything, I finally broke down and handed over my credit card information.

THE PRICE

Let’s get into it: this ain’t cheap. My first month was $89. I thought okay cool we can manage this. Then that price JUMPED and I was shooketh. Your girl was not equipped for that charge. And every month it still feels like a shock. If I’m being honest, the price for four rentals at a time does at times seem a little high. If you’re the type of person that like constantly having different options for your closet or if you attend several special events per month then this price may be worth it. If not? I would skip it and maybe rent for specific special events. The good news? You can pause your subscription at anytime for up to three months or even cancel and resubscribe at a later date. For your first month, take advantage of someone’s discount code OR the $80 off incentive.

THE CONVENIENCE

Now this is where it gets sticky for me. On one hand, the Rent the Runway takes away the hassle of shopping for a new outfit anytime you have a special event or want something cute for everyday. It saves time, money, and prevents me from having to venture out into the public. That being said, the turn around time isn’t great. If you want a new piece by Saturday, your best bet is to take your return to UPS on Monday. This way, it will be received on Wednesday and you can immediately order your next piece. I would also advise having a back up piece for whatever you really want to order. If you have great taste, the item that you want are probably very popular and could be unavailable. Staying on top of your rental schedule is important because you get your money’s worth that way. One time I had the same four items for a whole month because I wasn’t proactive about planning my rentals. What a waste!

THE SELECTION

If you love labels and unusual finds, the selection on Rent the Runway is your bestie. RTR features pieces from high end designers such as Phillip Lim as well as everyday brands like J. Crew. There are also some great finds from fashion favorites such as Opening Ceremony and DVF. Pieces range from casual to formal to eccentric and there are options for almost every occasion. It should also be noted that you can rent some awesome accessories such as handbags and jewelry that will amp up any look.

HOW I RENT THE RUNWAY

I feel like after a year of renting, I’ve got my process down to a science. I have a complete profile on Rent the Runway with my accurate age, height, and weight. This is helpful because the service will recommend sizes for you. This is helpful but I still comb through reviews in case an item runs large or small.

Every Saturday, I click on the new arrivals link and turn off the available by date. This way, you can see all of the new styles that have come in. Next, I heart EVERYTHING that I like. EV.ER.Y.THING. Next, I go back through my hearts and consider any upcoming events or shoots that I have planned. Anything that fits that those themes, gets put onto my Next Order List. I keep more than four but less than twelve items on this list (it gets cluttered really easily). This way, when my returned item is received, I can immediately go to my next order list and pick out what I want.

For items that I previously rented that I really loved, I have a list called order again. On this list are staples such as little black dresses that fit exceptionally well and trendy pieces that I wouldn’t necessarily purchase but were fun to wear.

As I previously mentioned, I try to return my items about a week before I need my next item. This is enough turn around time for me to get my next piece in time for when I need it.

Overall, I like Rent the Runway. Is it a necessary service? Absolutely not. When my budget gets tight it’s the very first thing to get cut. Is it fun? Of course! Is it great for bloggers? No doubt. Will it replace your closet? Yes and No. You’ll get some great pieces that you can wear as often as you like, but you still need basics. I would recommend this subscription to anyone who needs a rotating closet for their everyday needs.

My Better Half: Bringing Back the Half Birthday

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Sweater | Shoes

Remember being a kid and telling people you were six AND A HALF? That half was very important. Why? Because people needed to know that you weren't regular six. You were six PLUS. The upgraded version of that age. You were a seasoned six. Basically seven, actually. You knew some thangs that a normal, run of the mill six year old wouldn't know.

 When did that milestone become obsolete? I'm sure most kids age out of this practice by ten. Halves no longer matter once you reach double digits and you let go of your childish ways (or so I'm told, I'm the biggest kid you'll ever meet and I'm almost 30). Still, when I think about it, that half year is an important marker.

Six months is a long time. Everything can change in six months. Your job, your relationships, your financial situation can all go through some crazy changes in the time that it takes for the Earth to revolve halfway around the sun. Honestly, if the last time you talked to me was on my birthday in 2018, you probably don't know me that well anymore. I mean sure, I still hold most of the same core values, but there have been some pretty major changes.

For starters, my goals are different. I was stuck in a "think small" mindset that had me shrinking into tiny boxes that weren't meant for me. I thought I didn't deserve to go after the big things I actually wanted. I decided that wasn't a good look and started asking for and going after more. Add to that a heaping dose of IDGAF. Not that I'm walking around being a savage as the young folk would say. I just care quite a bit less about people’s opinions of me. I’ve done the whole hide who you really are thing and it’s draining and doesn’t benefit me at all. Lastly, I realized that I have to put myself first. I had gotten so accustomed to putting the needs of everyone else before mine and ended up feeling so empty. At first, I blamed others but I quickly realized that this was entirely my fault. I was so busy pouring into other people and things and projects that I wasn't stopping to let anyone pour into me. How silly! I was empty because I wasn't allowing anyone, including myself, take care of me.

29.5 already feels different than 29. And to be honest, if you don't talk to me anytime between 29.5 and 30, you'll probably be meeting a completely different person in July.

Slay Your Single Holidays

Whewwwww Chile! This has been a year. Like straight hellish in so many ways. Amongst other things, I am freshly single and not so ready to mingle. Summer was cute since friends are always down to hang. Fall was okay because there were so many activities on my calendar. But as we move towards Thanksgiving and Christmas, ya girl is feeling down. This is the first time in a LONG time that I don’t have anyone to snuggle with when it’s snowing outside and I know for a fact Christmas is going to be rough unless I’m with my family. That being said, I have a plan because left to my own devices I’ll be drowning in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, a bottle of spiked Egg Nog, and listening to Miss You Most by Mariah Carey on repeat. BTW, it’s not that deep (except for when it is) , I’m just dramatic AF.

SingleSlay
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Always Be Cute

I’m pretty sure ABC is the technique salespeople use but we’re remixing here to Always Be Cute. Now I’m not talking about looking nice to attract the male gaze (or female if that’s how you roll) because boys have cooties, I’m talking about looking cute for YOU. Depending on what kind of chick you are, this could mean a full beat face just to go to Walmart to pick up a Patti Pie or just a cute sweater with jeans and Starbucks cup while running errands, I’m a firm believer that looking nice (by your standards, no one else’s) improves your mood.

Treat Yourself

So here’s the deal, you don’t have a boo to shower you with lavish gifts the Christmas/Kwanzaa so you have to treat yourself. That thing that you’ve been eyeing but can’t quite bring yourself to buy? Get it. Boom. Done. Now Enjoy Yourself.

Hang With Your Friends

So you know all that stuff you didn’t do with your friends because you were boo’d up? Go ahead and do it now! Plan a Secret Santa party, have a onesie sleepover, go get some drinks. Fill your time that you would spend being lonely with people you love.

Will the holidays be tough for me? Prolly. Am I gonna cry? Absolutely (again, I’m dramatic). But hopefully I can still make some sweet single memories.

Reclaiming My Time

Taking a page from the book of Maxine Waters and reclaiming my time.

This is how you stand when someone's wasting your time and you're about to snatch it back.

This is how you stand when someone's wasting your time and you're about to snatch it back.

Last week, Representative Maxine Waters of California pretty much stopped the world when she boldly and unapologetically spoke the now infamous words, "Reclaiming My Time" in an effort to stop a man who was, essentially, trying to waste it. When the offending gentleman protested against this proclamation, Rep. Waters got a bit deeper and explained to him that, "when you are on my time, I can reclaim it". It was at this moment that Black Twitter imploded and the foolery began. With memes, gifs, album covers, and gospel remakes galore the gentlewoman from California basically broke the internet machine a la Beyonce circa 2013. While I participated in the shenanigans and still listen to the gospel remix as part of my morning regimen (because motivation) I started to think about those three words on a deeper level.

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In an effort to live more intentionally and rid myself of some pretty nasty anxiety I've been cutting out things, people, and habits that do not serve a purpose in my life. This means giant closet purges, being disciplined enough to avoid sinkholes that would lead self-destructive behavior (that's a work in progress) and enacting a firm "Stay over there. No, further away, please" policy. Honestly, it's not fun and can feel terribly isolating but I know every time I distance myself from someone or something, I'm making room for something better. With all of these changes, I still find myself feeling like all of my time is being stolen from me. Morning rushes into afternoon and afternoon melts into the night and next thing you know I've gone another day without accomplishing anything meaningful. 

So now, it only makes sense that I reclaim my precious time. You know, that thing you can never get back? As a chronic procrastinator and people pleaser, I watch my time run away from me on a daily basis. Should I do that thing that will actually add value to my life or scroll on Instagram for two and a half hours? That person is calling you again and whats you to basically work for free? Go ahead and answer and tell them yes because people's opinion of you matters. Recently I have come to realize that I am allowed to be selfish and meticulous with my time. Hell, even downright miserly. Because it's mine and when you're on my time I can reclaim it.

Top | Pants | Shoes (old)

What or who are you reclaiming your time from?

How To Be Basic

Because slaying all day is getting difficult.

Let me count the ways in which I do not slay on a regular basis.

Let me count the ways in which I do not slay on a regular basis.

I could get caught up in trying to live the perfect IG life OR I could actually live.

I could get caught up in trying to live the perfect IG life OR I could actually live.

Oh, you know, just over her not doing the most.

Oh, you know, just over her not doing the most.

Hi, I'm basic. That's really all. I'm not snatched 24/7. My closet isn't a revolving door of Fashion Nova pieces and other fast fashion boutiques (although they DO have some cute clothes). I wear makeup maybe once a week and more often than not my eyebrows look like distant cousins. I don't wear waist trainers because I like to breathe and most importantly EAT comfortably. Sometimes I wear the same shirt three times in a week because washing machines exist. I don't "slay all day". I slay about two percent of the time. I'm pretty okay with that.

Dress | Shirt | Shoes

Comfy, Casual, Chic

This is a love story about a girl and her very first black jumpsuit.

It was love at first sight. I know from the way she looked at me.

It was love at first sight. I know from the way she looked at me.

Her eyes said it all.

Her eyes said it all.

There are honestly no words that I can use that would properly describe the love that I have for this black jumpsuit. I think I've actually worn it to bed, to church, and to a cookout and I am now wondering why I didn't have at least five of these in my wardrobe sooner. Thanks to the online boutique Tobi, I will be living my best life in my romper all summer long and strongly suggest that you do as well!

Outfit Details

Jumper | Vest (similar) | Vintage Necklace | Shoes

 

What's your summer 2017 uniform?

Why You Should Skip the Clothing Resale Stores and What to Do With Your Clothes Instead

Well that was a mouthful...

Spring is really trying to come through despite the blizzard that I'm looking at through my window which means most of us are trying to clean out our living spaces to make room for all the new things we plan to buy this season and in the summer. If you're anything like me that means that you take an in depth look at your closet and decide that most of it just has to go. At this point you may be tempted to pack a bag of your latest and greatest that you just don't wear anymore (or never got the chance to wear for whatever reason) and take a trip down to the nearest clothing resale shop. let me help you with that: don't. I promise you that it's not worth it and unless you take your designer wares to a high end consignment shop you will barely recoup any of the money you spent.

Now you may be asking why I harbor such a strong dislike for clothing resale shops and I am here to tell you. As I said, you BARELY receive any return on investment (not that designer clothes are actually a smart investment). A designer bag originally purchased for $200+ MIGHT get you around $50 and the store will turn around and sell it for $100-$150. At that point you may as well sell the bag yourself. These stores generally have a list of things or styles that they can buy for any given season and despite having the coolest, most on trend clothing you may not have what they're looking for. And let's be honest, not everyone on staff will be fashion savvy enough to understand your unique taste. 

So now you have a pile of clothes that you need to get rid of but some crazy lady on the internet machine told you not to go to a real store. Well what are you supposed to do now? I'll tell you:

Host a Clothing Swap or Give to a fashionable Friend

There are certain items I don't mind giving away but then when I look at my closet there are certain things that NEED to go someone who will love them the way that I did. Instead of selling these items or giving them away to charity, I give them to the person I have in mind. Another option is to host a clothing swap with people who have the same level of style as you.

Give Items to a Charity Like A Women's Shelter

I'm not a fan of for profit charities such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill because their prices can be a bit ridiculous. that being said, most major cities have men's or women's shelters  that are in need of clothing among other things. 

Sell Your Clothing On Your Own

This is the most obvious option but it does require a little more involvement than just dropping your clothes somewhere and leaving them forever. Sites like eBay make it easy for regular people to sell their clothes and you'll probably get closer to your purchasing price than you would at a resale shop.

How do you get rid of your old clothes?

Memorial Day Slay Part Two | Day Party

I have to admit I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to clothing; except for a short period of time in college when I was known for wearing tops as dresses (don't judge) I generally wear clothing as it was intended to be worn. But as always there comes a time and a place to break the rules. I originally bought all of these pieces last summer and wore them completely differently (see here and here) but I was inspired to step outside of the proverbial box and switch up my style for the day. The top is actually a VERY body conscious dress and the skirt came as part of a coordinate set that I never actually wore together. Hair provided by B&HF Extensions. In all honestly I love this combo more than the original styling. 

What's everyone wearing/doing on this extended weekend?

 

Memorial Day Slay Part One

Who's cooking out this weekend and can a girl get an invite?

A fun mix of colors and prints to kick off the unofficial beginning of summer.

A fun mix of colors and prints to kick off the unofficial beginning of summer.

Being an Upstate New Yorker I wait for a glimpse of warmth from about October to May (and by warmth, I mean 60 degrees, the bar is set pretty low around here). The weather this year was particularly odd since we didn't get a real Spring and went straight from sweater weather to almost 90 degrees. 

Memorial Day being the unofficial beginning of summer I figured it would be fun to go with s super short short and long jacket to balance out all the skin. And of course, since it's summer time, I figured it was appropriate to mix different colors and prints.

Outfit Details

(everything is old so no links)

Jacket and Shorts | Marshall's Crop Top | Misguided Shoes | Asos Hair | B&HF Extensions

What are you all doing for Memorial Day weekend?

Joelle