Talk about a whirlwind trip! Thank you so much to Better Homes & Gardens for inviting me to NYC, I don’t take those opportunities for granted! But, I have to say, without your readership and support of this blog, BH&G wouldn’t even know who I was! So, thank you to YOU for reading and commenting and engaging with me here and on social media! I loved sharing our trip with you as it happened on Stories! IG Stories are awesome because they are live and in action so you get a better feeling of the person than just reading their words. You actually get to hear their voice, which is fun and weird all at the same time! Am I right?!
I’ll be sure to give you all the deets on the trip here too and in more detail, but I need a chance to get my life together after being gone! You know how it is, so much to do from unpacking to grocery store to laundry . . . . so today’s post will be a This & That chat session with you!
I got so many questions about those packing cubes that I used on my trip! They are seriously life changing and you need them if you travel, especially with kids! This was my first time using them and now I see what all the hype is about. They come in different sizes and colors, so I bought different colors for when we travel with the kids so I’ll be able to quickly identify who’s stuff belongs to who. The bags are awesome because they are breathable and flat and you can stack them on top of each other. I used five of various sizes for this trip and they kept me so much more organized both in my suitcase and while I was at the hotel.
Here’s the bottom layer of my suitcase . . . My makeup and toiletries bags are old from Target and my jewelry case is old from Stella & Dot, but they don’t sell it anymore. This jewelry roll bag is similar.
Then, I used two large ebags for my clothes, which I rolled to help with preventing wrinkles- 1 for my dressy outfits and leather jacket; 1 for my casual clothes. *I misspelled ‘leather’ below and was too pooped to change it!
Then, I realized I had room to fit my bras/panties & hair tools into two smaller rectangular bags!
On the way home, I used one large bag for the dirty clothes and just emptied that bag into the laundry room when I got home. The hardest part about buying the bags is choosing a color and then deciding what size you need. I’d recommend starting with a set of 3 sizes and then you can add to your collection as you see fit.
And, I finally invested in some grownup luggage and really loved the rose gold color on this set (but it’s available in 5 colors). This set comes with this big daddy (almost as big as me!) and also a smaller carry-on. I’ve never had hard-case luggage before and it held everything really well with lots of room. This big suitcase rolls super smooth and because it has 4 wheels, I could actually just roll it without even tipping it over if that makes sense. It made this super heavy bag feel like nothin’!
The big daddy also zipper expands, which was handy for bringing home more than I came with. But, it’s also cool that it has an integrated TSA-approved lock. And I loved the protective cover the suitcase came with. I kept that on when I checked it and I’m glad I did because the cover got all dirty with black marks, so all I have to do is wash it and my suitcase looks good as new!
Man, how rough do I look on the way home?! We didn’t get much sleep and I rolled out of bed and into the airport! #reallife
I was reminded on this trip of a few very important things for traveling:
- Pack flip flops – this slim pair comes with me on every trip and if you’ve been on your feet and want them to breathe, they are perfect! They come in 25 cool patterns and colors and last forever!
- Bring cash – for tipping skycaps, bellmen, taxi fare (even though most take credit cards), sharing with friends, etc. I didn’t have enough this time, so this is a #notetoself for me too!
- Get the Uber app for easy transportation. You can schedule an Uber ahead of time too. I did that for traveling from my house to the airport and it was great, door-to-door service!
- Bring your portable phone charger. I didn’t have one this trip, and my phone kept dying! The worst, especially if you’re tying to take pics. I got home and immediately ordered this one.
- Make friends with the concierge/front desk when you check-in. It doesn’t hurt to ask for an upgrade, and if one is available, they might just bump you up to a better room/or with a view, etc. And it’s just nice to always be nice. Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows what I mean. #formerwaitress
NEW FALL GOODNESS
Not only did I arrive home to the warmest welcome from my sweet family (I missed them so much!), but I also arrived home to some new packages and I couldn’t wait to show you!
First up, a mix of restocked (dress) and new (slouchy cardigan). Let’s talk about the dress first because it’s an oldie but goodie that looks amazing on every body type- even expectant mamas! I wore it while I was pregnant with Jordan and felt amazing in it! The body contouring secret is in the side ruching that is both flattering and forgiving. The little criss cross front is artfully placed so that your legs look long and lean. Balanced against the higher neckline, the dress won’t make you feel too exposed. It comes in a million colors, and for only $56, I want at least the black and plum next!
The dress can be worn year round, in the Spring and Summer with sandals and wedges or for weekends with sneakers and a ball cap. In the Fall, I love it paired with booties and a cardigan. Maybe I should do a post with different ways to wear it for fall, would y’all want to see that? Oh, it also comes in long sleeves!
I’ve been doing my cardigan research and my criteria includes: soft, stylish, petite friendly, good quality, and budget conscious. This rib trim cardigan by BP checks all those boxes. It’s not at all scratchy, is longer length, but won’t overwhelm a petite frame, is good quality and machine washable and under $50! It’s hard to find a great cardigan at that price! This cardigan also comes in beige (also bought!), dark green and deep burgundy- all very pretty for Fall and it has pockets! It fits pretty TTS, I’m wearing XXS.
And you won’t believe the next cardigan I found, also under $50! I’m on a roll! This gorgeous pink blush color is my current obsession, so I had to try this hooded cardigan. But I had no idea from the picture online how amazingly soft and silky it would feel on my skin. It’s chenille, so it’s ultra comfortable.
This one rivals the softness of the Cozy Cardi, but you aren’t supposed to machine wash chenille. Instead, hand wash (Soap, water, swish the sweater, squeeze (don’t wring), fresh water, swish-swish again, squeeze (don’t wring), lay flat, and pat.) I think this one is worth the extra effort and for some reason I always feel extra close to my Grandma when I hand-wash something. Makes me feel good, like I’m living the slow life! ha! But, I wear mine to death or until they smell! before they ever get an actual wash! 😉
The third cardigan I’m crazy for is this one (silky cozy softness of chenille again) with playful bloussed sleeves. Isn’t this yellow amazingly gorgeous?! I can totally see it with jeans and knee boots soon! The swing tank runs big- I got an XXS and it was still really loose. It’s meant to be that way, and I have a feeling it will shrink a little if you put it in the dryer (it’s 100% cotton).
I have a sweater dress post coming up for you and this one is on the list to show! If only our weather would cooperate so I could actually wear it out of the house!
It’s that pale pink color that looks so good on everyone as it softens their complexion. Have you ever heard that people look good in soft pink light? Think of this sweater dress as your own personal soft pink light. The v-neck gives you a little exposure, but the mock neck gives it an unexpected twist. You can wear this alone or belted or with a scarf/jacket combo. Lots of options for this one and under $50! I’m 5’1 and it hits just above the knee, the reviewers 5’5 and 5’6 said it’s not too short. It’s also not too snug or too baggy, rather, just skims your body very nicely.
For this outfit, I tried it on with my new pair of GORGEOUS soft suede knee high boots! I really lucked out on this pair, because often I have to try on at least 5 or more to get the fit, color, and style right. I don’t even think these pics do this boot justice because they are sooooo pretty in person. I love the almond suede color that is the perfect light neutral to go with so many things in your closet. The style is clean and unfussy, just a simply stunning boot with a block heel that’s not too high and not too low. The boot hits me right mid-knee and I’m 5’1. To get a PERFECT fit, they could be slightly shorter, but I’m okay with this.
I have bigger calves for my frame and this boot left me plenty of room inside, but my legs weren’t swimming inside- which is why I like them with both dresses and jeans. I wanted to quickly show you how they look with jeans, so I threw on this pair I’ve been living in lately.
By the way, this exaggerated bell-sleeve sweater can be worn on or off the shoulder. For an off-shoulder look without your strapless bra, I go for this lacey one by Wacoal. It’s pretty and TTS, I wear my normal size 34. It’s not a ton of support, but it gets the job done.
Here’s a better picture of these jeans I’ve been wearing everywhere lately. They are mid rise, dark wash with cool whiskered finish (really love that about these!!), skinny style but not like a jegging, more like a true jean. They are under $100 and fit TTS, with petite sizing too!
You can see the slight whiskering in the jeans better here. The tie sleeve sweatshirt is going fast, but comes in three colors- on SALE! 💥
Do you remember how popular this under $25 plaid scarf was last year?! It’s infinity style and the colors are so good for fall with a little bit of unexpected teal! I’m glad I still have mine- I wore it so often last year and will definitely be pulling it out again this year! It’s currently showing backordered for 3 weeks, but sometimes they do ship faster!
And also this plaid poncho?! Isn’t a poncho just an excuse to wear a blanket outside? If so, sign me up! I like this one because of the black and soft white color combination that works with so much and because it isn’t crazy heavy or enormous. It’s shorter in the front, so very easy to wear (women of all heights love this!) and the frayed edge hem gives it a more casual vibe. And it’s under $40!
October is shaping up to be a fun month with a couple different events on the agenda. Next week, I’ll be heading to Dallas to speak on a panel for the Bloom Workshop, a lovely two-day event founded by my friends Michaela and Ashley. I “met” my blogger friend Michaela many years ago when we had first started our blogs and since she is much younger than me, I’ve always considered her like my little sister.
I’ve followed along on her journey through college to the working world and now she’s married and all grown up! I couldn’t be more proud to see all that she’s doing with her talent. Although we’ve known each other for years, this will be the first time we’ve gotten to meet in person!
I got this little hot pink skirt back from the alterations (I had the waist and hips taken in) and now I’m dying to wear it! It’s still pretty hot here and in Dallas, so I think I could get away with this darling white eyelet top with sweet ruffled sleeves and collar. Because I like those details so much and want to show them off, I’m thinking of wearing my hair half up/half down.
But, it if there’s any chance (please, please) that we might be gifted a cold front, I could wear it with this little white sweater and leopard heels. This is a fun combo! p.s. Everything is 50% off at LOFT today with FREE Shipping! You know where you’ll find me later today . . . on the couch in my pjs shopping online!
And I had to try this outfit that I had in my head on in real life! Isn’t this a hot outfit for a date night or party? I love the contrast of the hot pink and black and the skirt is short enough to show off your over-the-knee boots! You could also do a black tight and high-heeled bootie instead of the OTK boots.
It’s always an honor when someone shares something from my blog, and Southern Living did a round-up of DIY Fall Wreaths and included this easy hydrangea version I originally made years ago, and still have! Thanks so much!
You can see more of our Fall decor here.
Yep, it’s officially October which means Halloween is approaching! Now’s the time to get your photos ready for the pumpkin patch and for the kids to choose costumes! James is going as Michael Jackson this year (think Billie Jean performance at the VMAs) so I have some crafting to do. In the meantime, he’s been hard at work learning how to moonwalk! Our school always does a costume contest and you wouldn’t believe the creativity!
But, what about Jordan? Last year she was the cutest Minnie Mouse you ever did see (I got the costume at the Disney Store), but I’m not sure what to dress her as this year?? She’s super into Paw Patrol, so maybe a puppy?? Or how about this little ladybug?! I go crazy for these adorable costumes! Can’t wait to narrow it down!
I’ve dressed up in the past when we’ve gone to costume parties, but if I’m not changing into someone else, a cheapie Halloween tee always does the trick! I realize you can’t read in the mirror, but I love them both! Which one is your fave?
And if you’re pregnant, you need this shirt for sure!!
And finally, (I bet you thought I’d never end this post!) I get to chatting with you and could go on and on . . . .
If you missed it, I shared a big round-up of all the fall outfits I’ve been wearing lately here! Go check it out- lots of things on sale now!
Have a great week friends!