Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LOUNGING IN STYLE & LEATHER BAG GIVEAWAY

Hello from Charlotte! Today I'm writing from our cramped, yet cozy, temporary living quarters close to John's workplace. Our drive down from Michigan last weekend was easy enough and the pets all handled the trip much better than we thought they would, which was a huge relief. The past week John has been at work and I have been busy filling boutique orders and setting up all of the minute little things you have to re-do when you move. Finding a good grocery store, new doctors, a new gym, the nearest Target... you know, the essentials. ;)

But in even bigger news, we bought a house!! It's a Charleston style home that has a charming front porch with double fans and a red door. TWO FANS, you guys. AND A RED DOOR. Is this real life?! It's everything that I would picture a southern home to be and I can't wait to 1. Learn how to make a mean sweet tea. 2. Drink it while sitting on the front porch. I'm so excited to show you guys pictures once we close and settle in.

One of the benefits of the past week is that I've gotten to hang out at home a lot and wear comfy clothes. No bras, messy hair, you catch my drift. It has been GLORIOUS. The best part is that the loungewear that I've been wearing are super cute and have amazing quality-- great for multi-day wear. Let me introduce you to The Bulldog Factory: cute and comfy casual clothing for weekend and everyday wear. Some of their pieces even have a little bulldog on them. How cute is that?! 


But seriously, the fabric for their sweatpants and sweatshirts is so thick and luxurious, and in my opinion, the pieces feel like they cost way more than their prices. I ordered this t-shirt, this sweatshirt, these sweatpants, and also their gorgeous Otto leather bag, which I'll get to shortly. I ordered all the clothing in a size small and like how everything is fitted. The clothing is super comfy and stylish-- an absolute must for loungewear. Although I think if I were to re-order, I might choose a medium in the sweatshirt, just because it is so fitted and I prefer my lounging sweatshirts to be a bit on the loose side. But let's talk about the bag. The bag is absolutely diiiivine.  The leather is supple and the size makes it perfect for a work bag or a gym bag. I've been using it as an everything bag this past week and it has catered to my needs beautifully. It even has little openings for pens and slits for credit cards. 
All of that being said, I'm thrilled to team up with The Bulldog Factory to offer you a 15% discount when you use code 'GORGEOUS' at checkout. PLUS, we are giving away a black leather Otto bag to ONE LUCKY WINNER! All you have to do is register for The Bulldog Factory newsletter at www.thebulldogfactory.com. The newsletter registration should pop up when you click on the linkThe winner will be announced on Valentine's Day (2/14). 

GOOD LUCK, ladies! May the odds be ever in your favor. :)


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

MY FAVE FLATS + 20% OFF COUPON CODE

If you've ever caught a sneak peak of my closet on my Instagram or other social media accounts you know that I LOVE shoes- especially stylish, unique flats. (Hence having an entire shoe shelf dedicated to ballet flats. I won't judge if you don't. ;) Now don't get me wrong, I still love a great pair of pumps, but flat shoes have become much more practical for my lifestyle. And if there's something that makes this blog different, it's that I post outfits that I actually wear every day. There's no pretending here... give me a pretty pair of functional flats and I'm yours.

That's where Ann Blanche flats come in. I've talked about my love for these gorgeous (and SUPER comfortable) flats many times before. But what I love even more is that they continue to come out with more unique styles, textures, and color combinations for me to add to my ever-growing collection. Well, please keep 'em coming, because this girl can't get enough. 

The black and white style that I'm wearing in the outfit below is their "YASI" style. (Thank you for the name love, AB!) They are so comfortable that the first time I put them on, I felt like I was walking in tennis shoes. The entire bottom is cushioned, as is the heel and the part that wraps around your ankles (A.K.A. no more blisters!). Your feet feel like they are enveloped in a snug cushioned hug. And the other great thing about these flats is that they are treaded for traction, without looking like they are meant for hiking. They look delicate and classy and come in two additional colors, The Lorrayne (pewter), and The Rachel (burgundy). As far as sizing, I usually wear a size 7 and I ordered a 7. So if you are in between sizes, I would recommend sizing up to be extra comfy.

At only $34.99 they are already a steal, but you can also GET AN ADDITIONAL 20% OFF by using coupon code YASI20 at checkout. Happy shopping, friends!

OUTFIT DETAILS below //

BALLET FLATS [c/o ANN BLANCHE] // Exact here
BLOUSE // Love these versions herehere, & here
RED ANKLE PANTS [The Limited] // Similar here, here& here
BRACELETS/CUFFS [Hello Gorgeous Boutique] // Exact here & here
EARRINGS [Hello Gorgeous Boutique] // Exact here


Monday, January 16, 2017

SEQUINS & PLAID

HEY Y'ALL! It's been a minute. Since I'm moving to the South I can start saying "y'all" and "bless your heart", right? ;) So much has happened the last few weeks that I haven't had much time to write. But everything seems to be falling into place and we are so thankful.

First piece of big news, we sold our house!! It was such a relief to have the showings over with. Honestly, being on the other side of the house buying/selling situation, it really makes you appreciate everything the seller has to go through to keep the house looking tidy at the whim of buyers who need you to drop everything and leave the house.

Second piece of big news, we bought a house in Charlotte! Since our plans for renting fell through a few times, we decided to entertain the idea of buying instead. And while visiting Charlotte a couple of weeks ago, we found a house that we fell in love with. It's Charleston style, has a big red front door, and a porch with two gorgeous fans. Be still, my heart. We close in the middle of February and we couldn't be more excited. The house is pretty much ready to go, all we really have to do is install a fence for the dogs and move our furniture in.  I can't believe this is really happening!

OUTFIT DETAILS below //

NECKLACE [Hello Gorgeous Boutique] // Exact here
SEQUIN TOP // Similar hereherehere
PLAID BUTTON-UP [Old Navy] // Similar herehereherehere, & here
RED ANKLE PANTS [The Limited] // Similar here, hereherehere, & here
NAVY BLAZER [UNIQLO] // Almost exact here & here / Similar here, here, & here
NAVY PUMPS [Target] // Similar herehere, & here / Love this ankle strap pair & this chunky heel pair

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

COLD SHOULDER SWEATER

Moving is a piece of cake, said no one ever. As you can probably tell, life has been a little crazy for us the past few weeks. Our moving plans have changed approximately 572 times and we've had enough back and forths to last us all the way through 2017.

Even so, we've been trying to stay positive about all the changes. But I will admit it was a little tough after the second rental home fell through. Who knew the rental home market in Charlotte was so hot?!
Since John starts his new position in the beginning of January, we are trying our hardest to set a plan that we think will stick. The new-new plan is to stay in a furnished temporary apartment (NOT ideal with two dogs and a cat!) outside of Charlotte and put most of our things in storage for a couple of months until we buy a home down there. So friends, if you have any extra prayers and good joojoo in you, please send them our way in hopes that we quickly find a home that we like near John's workplace. Apparently traffic in Charlotte is awful, so finding a home that we like close to his work is key.

But onto the good stuff... the outfit below! Confession: I wore this outfit on Thanksgiving Day and a few times after that too. Hey, when you find a sweater that you absolutely love, you gotta get the most out of it, right?! And when I say that this sweater is EVERYTHING, it really is. I love the peekaboo shoulders, the vibrant color, and I especially love the way that it hangs. Love love LOVE. If you want to check it out, you can shop it directly on Catch Bliss's website. For reference, I'm wearing a small. But it comes in small, medium, and large. Happy shopping! <3

OUTFIT DETAILS below //

SWEATER c/o Catch Bliss Boutique [Exact]
JEANS [Forever 21] // Similar here / Great pairs here & here (Both on sale!)
BOOTS [Etienne Aigner] // Similar herehere, & here / OTK versions here & here / LOVE this bootie here
EARRINGS + CUFF [Hello Gorgeous Boutique] // Exact earrings here / Exact cuff here


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

THANKSGIVING OUTFIT INSPO + HG NECKLACE GIVEAWAY (CLOSED)

I can't start this post without first thanking each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Your love, incredibly kind words, and genuine support of my last post made my heart absolutely burst with happiness. Thank you thank you THANK YOU! 

On the home front, things are going well. John and I have spent the past week getting the house in order and prepped for sale. It's a very strange feeling. Our house has never looked better-- which makes me kind of sad. It's like, wait, now that the house looks how I've always wanted it to look, we're putting it up for sale and leaving?! Ha. Such is life. And as if I wasn't already home-sick before leaving, it snowed a few days ago. A full blanket of beautiful, pristine, Christmas-like snow (see the pic I posted on Instagram). It was crazy and totally unexpected, and I loved every minute of it. I may or may not have played Christmas music first thing in the morning. Gotta take advantage of it before we move, right?!
Even though I've been day-dreaming about Christmas, I haven't forgotten that it's still November and that Thanksgiving is just around the bend. So I've been loving fall attire, similar to the look below-- gingham, warm autumnal colors, leopard print, and sparkle! 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, what better way to express my thanks than with a super easy GIVEAWAY of the Lillian Crystal Necklace from the boutique?!

>> TO ENTER GIVEAWAY<<

1. FOLLOW Hello Gorgeous Boutique on Instagram.
2. LIKE Hello Gorgeous Boutique on Facebook.
3. COMMENT BELOW this post with your e-mail and a quick description of what you would wear the Lillian Crystal Necklace with if you were to win.
4. CHECK Hello Gorgeous Boutique's Instagram & Facebook page on this Saturday, November 26th to see if you are the winner*!
*Winner will be chosen using a random number generator and announced on HG Boutique's Instagram and Facebook page.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope your day is filled with great food and wonderful time with your loved ones. :)

OUTFIT DETAILS below //
NECKLACE BRACELETS [Hello Gorgeous Boutique] // Exact necklace here / Exact bracelets here & here
JEANS [Rock Revival from The Buckle] // Very similar here / Other great pairs here & here (Both on SALE!)
SWEATER [H&M] // Almost exact here / Similar here / LOVE this chunky knit here and cowl neck here
GINGHAM BUTTON-UP [Forever 21] // Almost exact here & here / Smaller squares here
LEOPARD PRINT BOOTIES [Target] // Similar here & here

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MAKING LEMONADE [THE STORY BEHIND HELLO GORGEOUS BOUTIQUE]

Have you ever had so much to tell someone that you don't even really know where to begin? 
When so much has happened that you can't even figure out when the beginning was?


About a year ago, the company that John works for here in Southwest Michigan acquired a company in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was offered a position on the transition team, which he accepted, and has since been traveling back and forth to Charlotte every other week. A few months later, his proverbial hat was thrown in the ring for a position in Charlotte. 

Because we are both analytical people, we made list after list of pros and cons. The first list looked something like this: Pros- No more traveling and a great position. Cons- Moving away from our community, our friends, our family. Having to sell our house (which we adore). Giving up the job that I was happy and comfortable with and looking for new work. Starting from scratch in a city where we don't know anybody. Moving to a warmer climate (We both like snow. Go figure.), and so on. 

Shortly after the offer was brought up, I found out that I was pregnant. Given our pros and cons list and the fact that we were now expecting, we decided to forget about the whole thing and keep on living life they way it was. We were perfectly content. 

Then everything changed. I got into a terrible car accident. Two weeks later, I miscarried and lost our first child. We were devastated. (Still are.) I quit blogging, only to come back to it after a couple of months when I realized that I missed it. Some time passed and our spirits improved. Then right around my birthday, when we thought everything was getting back on track, I came home to find John waiting for me with a somber face and a glass of wine. Weird. Something was off and I knew it. 
He asked me to sit down and I did. Then he began to tell me that one of the closest women in my life was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in shock. I sat on the couch, frozen, for twenty minutes. What does this mean? Would she be okay? Was she going to lose her breasts? Was she going to live? What stage was it? Why was everything falling apart for us and everyone around us??

It turned out that the cancer was found early. She had a lumpectomy and is now on the road to recovery, thank God. But those few months of loss and heartbreak did something to John and I. We grew closer and stronger. But we also began questioning why we were so afraid of taking the North Carolina offer. If life could be snatched from us at any given time, why weren't we living it to the fullest and experiencing everything that it had to offer?

And so we began to re-write our pros and cons list, each time adding on more possibilities under pros. We began dreaming of how fun it would be to spread our wings and live somewhere different, make new friends, and open our life to other possibilities and opportunities. 

Then one night after a long dinner, I hesitantly asked John what he thought about me following through with the big dream of mine that I had always kept on the back burner-- the dream of opening my own affordable online accessory boutique. The dream that I had first brought up years earlier, but kept on the back burner because there was no way that I could realistically open a business while holding onto my daytime job. And you know what he said? He said "Yes, do it. Absolutely. This makes perfect sense." 

The next morning, we decided to go forward with the North Carolina offer, and I began to work toward making my dream into a reality. I used every spare second that I wasn't at work to research, study, and wrap my head around what it would take to open a small business. At nights I would stay up until 3 a.m. figuring out how to code the website and then get up at 6 a.m. to go to work. I was exhausted, but so incredibly motivated and excited that I could barely sleep.  

To be honest, I don't think I fully realized how much work it would take to get the boutique off the ground. There were licenses to register for, legal papers to decipher, products to shop for and price, a business model to build, and a website to design. Then there was the marketing plan and figuring out the name and social media structure, website photos to shoot, and so much more.

All of that brings us to today, dear friends. John and I are set to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, and I could not be more proud to introduce you to my dream, actualized: Hello Gorgeous Boutique.

I hope that you feel the love and excitement that went into creating the boutique. I truly hope that you fall in love with every piece, and that each time you wear a necklace, bracelet, earrings, or other accessory from the boutique, you feel even more gorgeous and confident than you already are. 

A week or so ago, I tearfully left my epidemiology job and sweet co-workers to focus on launching the boutique and selling our home in Michigan. John will continue to travel until the new year when we officially relocate to Charlotte. Once we move, I will be running the boutique full time from a co-working office (so don't worry, I will still be posting office-friendly looks on the blog!), blogging, and taking on epidemiology and data analysis work as a consultant. 

To say that this is a huge change for us is an understatement. But you guys, I am so proud of us. We are taking life by the horns, letting go of our fears, and fulfilling our dreams. Because if not now, when?

I can't finish this post without giving a million thanks to John, our wonderfully supportive friends and family, and of course each one of you. Because without you, none of this would be possible. 

You can shop Hello Gorgeous Boutique HERE //
You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

.....

If you are interested in hearing more about the boutique and some personal style pointers, check out the interview I just did with Tesi and Leslie from Mama Bear Dares-- where we talk fall fashion, how to wear ankle boots, and figuring out how to pull off that look that you've been wanting to try. 

You can listen to the podcast directly HERE 
or by subscribing to the Mama Bear Dares podcast on iTunes

And make sure you follow them on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram
They are seriously amazing and their podcasts will change your day (if not your life)!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

SALE ALERT: ANN BLANCHE FLATS

I absolutely love a comfy and stylish pair of flats. Enter Ann Blanche's newly redesigned ballet flats. You guys, they are SO ridiculously comfortable and versatile. They come in red and silver and for the next 72 hours they are on major sale for only $19.99!! 
Last time they were on sale they sold like hotcakes. So if you're into them, hurry! You can purchase them here.

OUTFIT DETAILS below //
FLATS c/o AnnBlanche [Exact]
BELT [Target] // Similar here & here
BLOUSE [TJMaxx] // Similar here & here
SKIRT [H&M] // Almost exact here // Similar here & here
BRACELETS // Exact: here, here, & here
SCARF [Forever21] // Similar here & here // Love these ones here & here