Wednesday, November 23, 2016

THANKSGIVING OUTFIT INSPO + HG NECKLACE GIVEAWAY

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



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

FALL UNIFORM

This look is often my go-to casual "uniform" for fall. It has all the things I need to feel prepared for temperamental weather: layers, tall boots, a jacket that offers just enough warmth, and a colorful scarf. Top it off with a chunky watch and earrings and you're good to go!
Most any boot will do, but two-tone boots are especially fun and add a little unexpected flair. The pair that I'm wearing in the outfit below are from Etienne Aigner, and sadly no longer available. But I love this gorgeous Tommy Hilfiger pair and this other one from Liz Clairborne (also available in wide width).

OUTFIT DETAILS below //
TWO-TONE BOOTS [Etienne Aigner- no longer available :( ] // Similar here & here / Another in regular width and wide width 
LEATHER JACKET [From Italy] // Stunning similar ones here here / A bit more budget-friendly here & here 
JEANS [Rock Revival from The Buckle] // Very similar pair here / Cute Express pair here
SWEATER [Target] // Almost exact here / Unique half-sleeve one here
WATCH [Fossil outlet] // Gorgeous versions here & here
SCARF [Zara] // Similar herehere, & here
EARRINGS // E-mail me for details

Sunday, October 30, 2016

STRIPED SWEATER DRESS

Just a few short years ago, I avoided sweater dresses like the plague. I hated how tight they were and how they clung to every part of the body. And then there was always the question of how appropriate they would look with just tights. You know, the age old "does it cover your butt?" rule. 

Well, sweater dresses have come a long way since then. Case and point, this light and cozy shift dress from Catch Bliss. I knew I was in for a treat the second I pulled it out of the bag. See that shit grin on my face in the pic below? It's because I was so excited that I couldn't stop smiling about it all day. I had a super busy day and this dress let me move and be comfortable without getting overheated. It's warm, but not too warm-- and not one bit clingy. And I don't want to spoil the surprise for you, but I can't help myself. IT. HAS. POCKETS!! All my sweater dress fears have now been put to rest. Check out the dress for yourself here. I guarantee you'll love it just as much as I do!

{For reference, I'm wearing a small. But it comes is sizes S-XL.}

OUTFIT DETAILS below //
DRESS // c/o Catch Bliss Boutique (exact)
DENIM JACKET [Forever21] // Almost exact here / Cute one here / Budget-friendly here: dark denim & distressed denim / Cute Plus size here
BOOTIES [Clarks (exact)] // Love these Clarks here and this more affordable pair here
NECKLACE // Exact here
TIGHTS [Target (exact)] // Similar here & here 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MAKEOVER

Hey guys! Notice anything...different? Does the blog look fresh? A little more polished?
That's because after five years of blogging on the same site that I painstakingly cobbled together on my own, I finally had my blog professionally redesigned. Hallelujah!! I actually began looking into a redesign about this time last year. We slowly picked things back up a few months ago, and voila!
I also thought that it would be the perfect time to switch over the blog URL from the uber long www.hello-gorgeous-blog.blogspot.com to a much simpler hellogorgblog.com. Although the old blog address will always get you to this site, this one might be easier to remember. :)

I hope that you like the blog makeover as much as I do and that it makes viewing my site more enjoyable. And last, but not least, I have to send out a big shout out to Aubrey Kinch for being so patient with my ever-present Type A tendencies as I figured out exactly what I wanted the final product to look like. Thanks so much, Aubrey. You are amazing!

THE OUTFIT //
Many of you asked about the details of this outfit when I posted it to Instagram a few days ago and were bummed to find out that I got both the jacket and the scarf in Italy. But never fear! I found almost identical versions of them for you, linked below.


LEATHER JACKET [From Italy] // Similar here, here, & here / More affordable version here
SWEATER [Forever21] // Almost exact here / Similar: with buttons, edgy, relaxed fit
SCARF [From Italy] // Similar here (in lilac) / Cute ones here & here
JEANS [Express] // Very similar here / Budget-friendly version here
NECKLACE // Exact here
BOOTIES [Clarks (exact)] // Love these pairs here & here



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ESSENTIAL STRIPED BLAZER

Confession: I've been living in sweats at home and easy-to-style dresses at work since we got back from our trip last week.  I'm sure it's just a mixture of exhaustion, weather change, and some viral bug that I picked up somewhere along the way. But I'm ready to feel better already.

Since my outfits lately haven't been too blog-worthy, I thought I would share one from last month. I absolutely love this striped blazer that I bought from H&M a couple of years ago. It's turned out to be a staple in my work wardrobe. I can throw it on over any solid top and it instantly jazzes up the outfit. So if you don't have a striped blazer already, I highly recommend adding one to your closet.

I've linked a few of my favorites below! :)
TOP - Forever21 // Almost exact here , Love these styles: peplumbow neckruffledcowl neck
BLAZER - H&M // Great versions herehere, & here, Love these in petites and plus 
SKIRT - Forever21 // Similar herehere, and here 
PUMPS - Target // Similar hereherehere, & here
PEARLS // c/o Blossom Jewelry Design


SHOP STRIPED BLAZERS //

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