Chosen Women’s Apparel and Fine Art

Last week I had the honor of attending an influencer event at Chosen, a recently opened boutique just outside of Uptown Charlotte in Myers Park. Chosen has an incredible mix of clothing, fine art, and housewares from designers such as Amanda Uprichard, Dolce Vita, 7 For All Mankind, Flying Monkey, Gaia, etc. From dresses, rompers and two piece sets to denim, accessories, shoes and what I like to categorize as “going out tops” – you know – the showstoppers you wear when out with the squad, Chosen is where you want to check first for gorgeous, unique pieces not found in your everyday stores.

Caroline, Chosen’s owner, was such a delight to meet and not only does she have a great eye for fashion and design, she also sources designers and artisans who support nonprofits and fair trade organizations. For those of you that know me well, you know that supporting organizations that actively work toward the betterment of others are close to my heart. Having a locally-owned retailer who includes a mix of brands that support these organizations is such an asset.

The event was a blast – I got to meet so many great, inspiring local influencers, sip some rose, try not to eat all the cake pops and cookies while also trying not to buy ALL the things. Here’s a few pretties that I picked up from the event. No worries for those of you not in Charlotte – you can shop online!

So many adorable and delicious treats. 

Such sweet and thoughtful goodie bags! 

I picked up this gorgeous and handmade Gaia bag – perfect for going out – these eye-catching slides and this stack bracelet (just $32!) that goes with pretty much everything in my closet. 

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: First Round Draft Picks

Hello there! Long time no post. We’ve had a busy summer with planned and surprise trips, lots of fun outings to the pool, Carowinds, neighborhood playgrounds and bountiful chalk art in the driveway.

I’ve been *trying* to write consistently again, but in the spirit of honesty, I’ve struggled to put words on the screen. Between stumbling through toddler parenthood and contemplating several prospective big life changes, I’ve felt like I’ve been treading water. This post is a stab at finding my groove again (paging Angela Basset) and putting focus back on the things I love to do, blog included.

Now let’s get to the good stuff. It’s that magical time of year again – the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is live for Nordstrom cardholders! Here are my favorites for women and girls thus far from the sale; I’ll add posts as the sale goes on with try-on info, men’s picks, beauty deals and finds for the home, too.

For women, or otherwise known as “what I grabbed for me:” 

Black denim under $50 – I don’t currently have a pair in this color or by Articles of Society, so these were an easy pick and I’m excited to give them a try. 

 

I love the sleeve on this simple Topshop turtleneck; it’s just enough to create interest and pairs well with everything from jeans to pencil skirts. 

I know…everyone had their eye on this Halogen emerald green sweater. Love the ruffled neck and color that really pops. 

Another easy sweater by Halogen that I’ll reach for again and again that’s lightweight enough to wear at the end of summer, when still besieged indoors by air conditioning, into the fall and winter.

My dear friend (and amazing, results-getting trainer) Noelle is a big supporter of Alo – I couldn’t pass these up in such a pretty dusty blue. Love the mesh cutout details and I can’t wait to sweat these up.
You can’t beat a pair of simple, chic running shoes. Excited to give these a try for lower mileage runs and cross-training. 

 

My favorite detail on these booties is the option to turn down the cuff – love this look and at less than $80, it’s a great price for a trendier piece. I chose the cognac suede, which will pair perfectly with dark denim. 
This blush pink tank is an easy piece to work into your stash of athleisure/workout gear. Hoping the color pairs nicely with the soft blue Alo leggings that are also on the way. 
These no-show socks are another staple at a great price. I wear them both for actual working out (not just dressed like I’m working out), athleisure looks as well as with sneakers or flats that truly keep the socks no-show. These also work for booties when you don’t want to go barefoot and stink ’em up, but need socks to stay put and out of sight.

At less than $12, this white t-shirt, a wardrobe workhorse, was a no-brainer. Wear with everything for nearly every occasion and pick it up in a few colors. You know, in case of an emergency.

What I picked up for my little one:

This vest is such a sweet shade of pink and will be adorable on C.

I buy one of Splendid’s sets for babies (now a toddler) every year from the sale – they make some of my favorite t-shirts (and activewear!) for both me and C. The navy stripe’s a classic, while the cold-shoulder and ruffles are sweet, on-trend details. Plus, the grey leggings will go with just about anything. 
Such a big fan of Native shoes for little ones, and this style is my favorite. I bought these in a size up for when she grows out of her current pair seemingly overnight. 
…and there’s no passing up this adorable pair of high-tops. She’ll look like a modern-day Punky Brewster. 
Rose gold flats will work with dresses, jeans and leggings. I love having a metallic shoe for C on hand as metallics pair with a large variety of colors. 

Every year, I grab C a North Face fleece jacket at the sale as it works well in our climate for nearly the entire fall and winter. The fleece is so soft and it washes and wears well every time.  
This Hudson set is so cute and I love how both the top and jeans can be mixed and matched with other pieces C already owns.

One sweatshirt = three looks

If you caught my Instastories from last week, you may remember I had the chance to shop the Stone & Arden Boutique pop-up shop at Vogue Salon and Spa. Stone & Arden is an online boutique owned by a dear friend and her sister-in-law; they’ve turned their love of fashion and online shopping into an Instagram boutique where you’ll find cute, on-trend and affordable looks.

They have an excellent eye for pieces that are unique and of-the-moment – think cute cutouts, lace, embroidery, cold-shoulders – while remaining affordable, with $3 shipping and many pieces under $50!  One of the owners is a former buyer for a major department store; she brings her creative aesthetic to the boutique, mixing in pieces with florals, ruffles, embroidery and eye-catching details that punch up your daily look or work for a fun night out on the town.

The pop-up shop was a blast to shop! It was so fun to check out their spring pieces in person and try everything (yes, just about everything!) on. Amy, one of the owners, was so helpful in suggesting pieces to try and it was tough not to leave with a carload of cute clothes. I can’t say enough about this great boutique – be sure to follow Stone & Arden on Instagram and Facebook, and keep an eye out for their upcoming line of jewelry, coming soon!

I paired this sweatshirt with pieces currently on heavy rotation to create three different looks that work for scenarios in my everyday life. It’s lined with the softest, brushed fleece and the neck detailing + gorgeous, deep mauve make it a standout from the sea of black, grey and navy currently in my closet. From coffee and playdates to a cozy gym pullover and then to book club/dinner out, this piece is sneaky in its versatility. Cute AND sneaky? Sign me up.

 

 

Look 1: top, Stone & Arden  |  jeans, Rag and Bone (similar here and here)  |  wrap bracelet, Tory Burch (similar)  | shoes, Birkenstock 

 

 

 

Look 2: top, Stone & Arden  |  tank, lululemon (similar)  |  tights, lululemon  |  vest, lululemon (similar)  |  shoes, Birkenstock  

 

 

 

 

Look 3: top, Stone & Arden |  jeans, Madewell (similar) |  shoes, Dolce Vita  |  bag, Chloe 

2018 Green Gala Gear

Last weekend we attended the 2018 Green Gala held by the Anne Springs Close Greenway. We met up with several other couples in our neighborhood who also planned to attend, took prom-style photos before, headed to dinner/drinks and then to the gala. It was a BLAST – we had a great time with friends and it was a ton of fun to dress up again vs. my daily athleisure/J. Crew combos.

It was a great chance to dust off some of our wedding attire – Jon wore the same bow tie and cummerbund he wore in our wedding and I got another wear out of my new favorite jumpsuit and a pair of my all-time favorites, the blue Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps I also wore to our rehearsal dinner that coordinate perfectly with his outfit! His bow tie and cummerbund are the official University of Kentucky plaid; he grew up just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, and he and his family are huge UK fans. The set was a great way to honor a family tradition without looking too much like fan gear and has been passed around by the men in his family for several formal events.

We went to The Pump House for dinner prior to the event and everything was delicious! Try the pimento mac and cheese as a side — you won’t regret it. At the gala, we bid on a couple of silent auction items and actually won. I should mention they are the most 30-something items one could bid on – an estate planning package and a child’s birthday party gift certificate. So fired up about finally getting our estate plan in order; it’s something we’ve put off for a while recognizing the importance of doing so as we need a solid plan in place for our daughter’s future.

We ate, drank, danced and had such an awesome time at this yearly event. Charlotte area natives, be sure to check it out for 2019!

On him: tuxedobow tie and cummerbund  |  cufflinks
On me: jumpsuit  |  earrings  |  purse (similar)  |  shoes

 

Our group

The ladies (minus one!)

Photo booth shenanigans
Makeup detail

Hair and makeup by Living Art Salon  |  Top: J. Crew 

 

Snow day!

It’s snowing in Charlotte! It’s a big deal in the south – nearly the entire city shuts down, and I’m happy to oblige. Everything seems so peaceful and quiet with a fresh blanket of snow.

Today we’re hunkered down like everyone else, eating and drinking all the warm things, playing in the snow and enjoying the break in our routine. C wasn’t sure what to think about it as she was too little to remember last year’s snowfall, but she got over any initial apprehension quickly and loved throwing snow! I don’t know who was more excited about it – me or her – as I grew up in Ohio, where it would snow quite frequently. I have such fond memories of kicking around the snow, sledding, snowball fights and igloo building that it’s fun to relive it, even if for just a day or two.

Stay warm and if you’ve got winter weather, stay safe and enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

Hat: gap (old, similar and 10% cash back with EBates!)  |  Hoodie: lululemon (old, new version here)  |  Shirt: lululemon  |  Leggings: lululemon (similar here)  |  Wellie socks: Hunter  |  Boots: Hunter

Asheville Girls’ Weekend

Baaack to life, baaaack to reality…

I hope everyone had a good weekend! I’m getting back into the routine after spending the weekend in Asheville, North Carolina with a group of great friends from my neighborhood. We left Friday afternoon and headed straight to The Grove Park Inn for lunch at Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen and a drink by the massive fireplace.

After settling into our cabin, we played a few intense rounds of Prosecco Pong and got ready for dinner at Curate, the #3 restaurant in Asheville. The drinks and food lived up to the reviews – everything we tried was absolutely outstanding! Our table split the paella de verduras and not one bit was left. It’s a must try; just  be sure to place your paella order 40 min in advance so the chef has plenty of time to prepare. We headed out on the town afterward, stopping at Social Lounge and a few other local bars before heading back to the cabin.

Top: J. Crew (similar here and here  |  Pants: H&M (only $17.99!) |  Shoes: Gianni Bini (similar) |  Suede clutch: Lidl (seriously!)

On Saturday, we slept in, made brunch, then headed out for lunch at Corner Kitchen, shopping in Biltmore Village and a drink at the Grand Bohemian before heading back to the cabin for the evening. We bundled ourselves up, made another fire (necessary – it was sooo cold), played games and had great conversation. Such a great finish to a fun weekend away with friends.

#squadgoals

Poor C wasn’t feeling well when I returned on Sunday, and let’s be honest, I was also exhausted, so we didn’t do much beyond loaf around and order takeout. Now we’re back to the grind, resuming resolutions and preparing for a visit with family later this week. I bundled up today and hit our neighborhood trails for a 4.3 mile run in an attempt to catch up on the lululemon 40 | 80 challenge. With only 6 days left, wish me luck…

2018 Wellness Goals

Tis the season for indulging, whether it’s eating, drinking, shopping, lounging around not knowing what day or time it is, and then BAM! Straight into diet and exercise season. Such a harsh transition, isn’t it? This year, I’m hoping to ease back into real life a bit more smoothly than in years past. Jon and I have had nearly endless conversations about how we want to tweak our wellness and exercise plans for 2018; here’s how we’re working on our minds and bodies into the coming year.

Mind

Studies show meditation can benefit both your physical and emotional well-being by reducing anxiety and negative emotions, increasing patience, imagination and creativity, and may help people manage symptoms of asthma, chronic pain, depression, high blood pressure, sleep problems, etc1. The Headspace and Mindfulness apps are two my husband and I have tested in the past weeks and enjoy; they walk you through the process and offer 1, 2, 3 , 5, 10+ minute meditations. My 2018 goal is to complete guided meditations 3x a week for overall wellness and anxiety management.

Green top: lululemon  |  Black top: lululemon  |  Tights: lululemon  | Scrunchie (for realz): lululemon  |  Mat: lululemon  |  Weights:  Amazon

Body

Gym/BBG:

While I’ve attended HIRT and cardio classes at our local YMCA, I’ve also added Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guide, or BBG, to the mix. Using the Sweat app, I’ve added BBG workouts when I can’t get to the Y. Guys, they are INTENSE in the best possible way. I love that the moves are tried-and-true (no inventing variations just for invention’s sake), they get the job done in 28 minutes and most of all, they work! Follow Kayla on Instagram and check #BBG – there’s no shortage of before and afters, testimonials and legions of fans sharing results! I love that she also posts workouts to her Insta, allowing you to test out the program before buying. More often than not they’re bodyweight based or require very basic/minimal equipment, making them perfect to have saved when traveling or times when you just can’t hit the gym.

Training:

For the past month, I’ve worked one-on-one with my dear friend Noelle Yanik, named one of the top trainers in the country by Women’s Health Magazine and competed as one of the final 5 contestants for the Next Fitness Star Competition. Amazing doesn’t begin to describe her – she’s not only my friend and confidant, but she’s encouraged me to try methods and practices I hadn’t considered in the past, with results I can see in just 30 days. Every session with her is a treat (really…even when sweating and out of breath!) as not only is she an excellent and renowned professional, but she’s just a joy to be with. Follow her on Instagram, where she shares workouts, tips and meals and check out her ebook, Unbreakable Core, to strengthen your core and lift the pelvic floor post-partum.

Running: the lululemon 40 | 80 challenge

The lululemon 40 | 80 challenge starts on January 2 and ends on January 15 – the goal is to run either 40k or 80k outdoor miles (no treadmill!) within that timeframe and log your successes with Strava, an activity-tracking app/website that’s also a social network for athletes. Rumor has it if you complete the challenge and show your Strava badge in person at your local lululemon, you *might* get some free swag! That alone is motivation for me to giddy up and go. Follow the journey on Instagram and at #4080challenge.

Green shirt: lululemon  |  Black shirt: lululemon  |  Tights: lululemon  |  Shoes: Birkenstock |  Workbook: Amazon |  Water bottle: Target

 

What are your health and wellness plans for 2018? Anyone else sloooowly easing into it after a month of decadence?

1A beginner’s guide to meditation. (2017, October 17). Retrieved December 30, 2017, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858

 

Last minute Christmas gift tips

There’s no need to write this post because nobody would ever wait until the last minute to Christmas shop, right?! Or…like me, you’re browsing like a madwoman with coffee or cocoa in hand, trying to figure out the best gifts to send in the fastest way possible.

Sweatshirt: kate spade (similar)  |  Leggings: Zella  |  Slippers: Ugg  |  Mug: Kleen Kanteen

If you’re still in need of a few quick gifts that you can send before Christmas (4 days from now…eee!), here are a few ideas I’ve used in the past or am using as we speak/type.

Magazine subscriptions

This is a great, quick gift that fits the bill for a variety of people on your list. I like to order from either magazines.com (who currently offers 25% back when you use eBates!) or Amazon. Pick up the current month’s issue at the grocery, tuck a notice into the magazine letting the recipient know you’ve ordered them a year’s subscription, and tie it up with ribbon for a cute gift that stands alone, serves as a fun stocking stuffer or a white elephant gift. Whether a national publication or your city’s local magazine, this gift is sure to bring a smile to someone’s face each month.

Current steals and deals:

Digital gift cards

These are a no-brainer when it comes to speed-to-market; they’re delivered straight to someone’s inbox within seconds of clicking “pay.” Starbucks, Amazon, Target, etc. work for most on your list, and if these don’t fit the bill, check out giftcards.com for a large variety of options. One great use of an Amazon digital (or analog, ha) gift card is for Amazon Home Services – shop a wide variety of services from house cleaning and repairs to light fixture installation, handyman services, iPhone repair,television mounting and gutter repair.

Select your preferred time and date, book and enjoy the convenience of using Amazon to coordinate home services. Bonus – Amazon provides an up-front estimate for the cost of work, so you have an idea of what to expect before you’ve booked! Such a great way to coordinate and budget for a variety of services our house always seems to need.

Online ordering with in-store pickup

Online ordering with in-store pickup is a brilliant marrying of the digital and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. I can order from the comfort of my home and pick up at the store, taking shipping costs and lead time out of the equation. This may be your best bet as we get closer to Christmas and shipping options narrow down – here’s a short list of retailers who currently offer this service:

I hope these three ideas and tips help you get to the shopping finish line soon! What are your favorite go-to last-minute shopping tips? Let me know in the comments.

Five favorite gifts to give (and receive!) for everyone on your list

Tis the season for holiday shopping! Over the years I’ve realized that like a poorer Oprah, I’ve developed a roster of favorite gifts to give. Whether these were given to me initially or found they worked for a variety of people on my list, I’ve either received or purchased for myself to confirm they’re great. Trust me, I’m an expert.

The best part? Nothing’s over $75 and from your boss to your stepsister or great aunt, all work for a variety of folks on your list.

-> Sephora Perfume or Cologne Samplers
Why they’re winners:
  • Each box contains 17 samples (perfume) or 12 samples (cologne) of Sephora’s most popular perfumes and colognes. Give ’em a test drive, then take in the scent certificate to choose a full-sized bottle of your favorite fragrance!
  • Provides a variety of fragrances for someone to sample, then they pick the winner vs. running the risk of buying them a bottle they may not necessarily enjoy
  • Sample sizes are perfect to toss in a purse or bag for keeping at your desk, travel, etc.
 -> Tiffany woven square bowl
Why it’s a winner:
  • This gorgeous crystal bowl is timeless, works with any decor and has a variety of uses. I’ve used ours as a ring holder, a general odds-and-ends catcher in the kitchen or as a serving dish for small candies or nuts
  • Tiffany’s iconic packaging makes this a fun and luxurious gift to open
  • It’s solid and well-made; the quality you expect from Tiffany
  • It’s $30, making this a surprisingly affordable gift
-> kate spade crown point 4×6 frame
Why it’s a winner:
  • Another timeless classic that blends into any decor – perfect for home or office
  • At $40, it’s a lovely gift for your boss, family or friends
  • Print a special photo and insert into the frame before giving, instantly personalizing the gift
-> Pottery Barn Kids Red Frame Ornaments
Why they’re winners:
  • Perfect for parents and the classic red matches looks great with most holiday decor
  • Less than $5 – an inexpensive item that can stand alone or as an add-on to another gift.
  • Can be used as a gift bag tag.
-> Restoration Hardware Ultra-Fine Plush Throw 
Why it’s a winner:
  • Comes in chic neutral colors that blend with any decor
  • Super soft, plush and warm
  • Machine washable
  • Packaged beautifully and can typically be purchased online or in store for less than $30