Archive of ‘Personal Style’ category

Stylish Eco-Friendly Living

Eco-friendly doesn’t mean losing out on style.

Think Eco-friendly doesn’t equal aesthetically pleasing? Think again. Something as simple as stylish reusable shopping bags can be a fashion statement, not a fashion fail.

Here’s my outfit from Tech Fashion Week (reader selected by you!) plus a farmer’s market friendly tote bag. It shows that fashionable and Eco-friendly can coexist.

Non-ugly reusable shopping bags

California has a plastic bag ban, which makes sense because the Pacific Ocean doesn’t need any more plastic bags floating in it.

When I think of reusable shopping bags, I think of the free scratchy-fabric promotional totes given out at conferences and vendor fairs. Luckily, they’re not all like that. See why.

Cute reusable shopping bags

My roommate got the Marks and Spencer tote pictured above while she was living in London. I like to keep a packable nylon tote in my purse like these  from Kate Spade so I’ll never be stuck without a bag when I need one. The are washable and the nylon holds up well. It makes a good lunch bag, too.

Thrifted white tulle and lace skirt

I found the white skirt at Goodwill of Silicon Valley for $8! I linked to some similar skirts at the end of this post so you don’t have to scour your local thrift shops. Like reusable shopping totes, secondhand shopping is good for the environment because it keeps clothing out of landfills.  I do a mix of secondhand and new clothes. Like going green with your pet and gardening to save the bees, it’s all about small, doable actions to be more Eco-friendly.

Small ways to be stylishly green

Borrowing clothes is great too — just check out these gorgeous shoes that are definitely not mine but I loved wearing them!

Outfit Details

White Skirt – Jealous Tomato. Scored at Goodwill of Silicon Valley for $8!

Jacket – Anthropologie – newest style here

Shoes – Betsey Johnson

Exploring South Dakota’s Black Hills

Thanks to the South Dakota Department of Tourism for sponsoring this post. I’m excited to share part 1 of my recent cross-country road trip with you!

Leaving Home

Arriving at the Badlands as the sun turned the rock formations to gold was therapeutic, to end a long day’s journey with such a beautiful destination.

History of the Badlands

I picked up all the brochures about the Badlands because the history of the place is so interesting. The Lakota Sioux and the French settlers both called the place the Badlands in their respective languages. After driving through the flat expanse of South Dakota, to find this serene change in the cartography is stirring. It’s been described as otherworldly, and I have to agree. There’s plenty of history within the Black Hills region as a whole as well. The South Dakota Board of Tourism can help you plan a history-rich visit.

The following day we saw Mount Rushmore, which is a must see if you’re in the area, but there’s also so much more to the Black Hills region. Other destinations the area include Devils Tower and more. We had so much ground to cover on the journey we could only spend one night, but there was absolutely more to see so take your time in the Badlands region.

Dog Friendly Badlands, South Dakota

Bringing a dog? Perry was allowed on the trails with us, which isn’t the case at all National Parks. But keep pets leashed at all times! You can see the sign in the photo warning about rattlesnakes. I did observe a few places that looked like a place a rattlesnake would like to live. We were happy to find plenty of dog friendly choices for places to stay as well. This link has a dog friendly itinerary for the Black Hills and more info on places to stay.

Fourth of July in the Black Hills

If you want to do something incredibly memorable for Independence Day this year, I found out by peeking at the event calendar that the Black Hills Rodeo is held that weekend, complete with a fireworks show. It says that most of the little towns in the area have their own Fourth of July festivals, which sounds so quaintly full of Americana I want to drive right back for it!

Save money on National Parks entry fees

One of the appealing things about vacationing in the Black Hills is the amount of memorable activities to do on a budget. If Badlands National Park (where all these photos were taken) is on your itinerary, you can save with an annual pass. We bought the America the Beautiful pass at the park gate, because we knew that would be seeing more parks on the journey. If you’re traveling with an American citizen who is over 62, they qualify for a lifetime pass to all the National Parks for only $10, so make sure to take advantage of that! We met quite a few retired folks on the journey who had the senior pass. There are also free passes available for U.S. Military, individuals with disabilities and 4th grade students.

I’m definitely yearning to see more of the beautiful United States now. Stay tuned for more about my cross country trip.

Chi Chi London Dress Review

Formal and Fancy

Today I’m sharing what is quite possibly my favorite dress yet. It’s from Chi Chi London out of the U.K. This dress comes in many other lovely colors including white and blue, navy, and cream. I think it looks very striking in every color! This Chi Chi London dress review post is not sponsored in any way, I just couldn’t contain my love for this dress. I have included shoppable links that earn a few cents per click. As I often say, it’s a paper doll-sized amount!

Story of My Dress

The story behind this dress is that I needed it last year to be onstage. This dress had the right amount of modesty and frill that I was looking for! It’s so elegant and princessy. If you have a chance to try a Chi Chi London dress, do! I think this style would be appropriate for many weddings, military balls, and other formal events depending on the dress code for the occasion.

Chi Chi London Dress Review

If you read reviews of this dress, there are only two critical things that people mention. One is that the lace at the bodice is floppy and doesn’t stick to your skin. You can see this in the picture above. I didn’t mind it to be honest. It’s just part of the dress. If you wanted to, you could use a small adhesive fashion tape to hold it into place, but then it would cover the collarbone so I don’t think it’s truly necessary. The other review I’ve seen is that the lace is a bit itchy. I could feel the lace, but again it wasn’t a deal breaker. I hate itchy fabrics, and I didn’t mind this dress.

Vintage Inspired Lace

The skirt is also very poufy! It has several layers of tulle underneath. I almost cut out a couple layers because I felt like a cupcake! But as you can tell from the photos, it’s just part of the silhouette, which has a lovely retro appeal.

Shop the Look

I’ve compiled some of my favorite similar styles below. The style in my photos above is sold at Modcloth under the name Exquisite Elegance Lace Dress, at Asos, and directly from Chi Chi London. 

The Return of the 1920s Style Formal Dress Trend

So you’re getting ready for all those fun spring events and you need a dress…if all the current trends of today aren’t quite your thing, or you just want to stand out, why not look to the past for inspiration? Gatsby style may have fizzled a little since the 2012 movie heyday, but 1920s inspired party fashion is a perennial classic (and my own personal favorite fashion era). Honestly who wouldn’t want to wear the flowing fabrics and beaded accessories?

This post is sponsored by Wardrobe Shop, a kind of a one stop shop for finding your next outfit for spring formals, weddings, or just looking really, really good for brunch. You can look like you just stepped off the set of Downtown Abbey.

Let’s take a look at three fun ways to incorporate a vintage 1920s look into your formal wear. Go for the entire head to toe look, or choose just one fashion element to elevate your look with a hint of vintage glam.

Hats

Fascinators and decorative hats are for more than royal weddings and the Kentucky Derby. Dress up your look by taking a cue from the stylish women of history. Choose a hat with a plume (see photo below), flowers, ribbon or a combination of all three.

Dresses

Formal wear trends frequently borrow from decades past, and styles this season are no exception. You can find the ruffles, tulle and lace of yesteryear in styles that will fit right in at weddings, parties and dances.

Faux Fur

A faux fur (or “vegan fur”) wrap is just like what my great-grandmother wore, but better because it’s cruelty free. It adds a bit of warmth on chilly nights, but way more importantly a lot of glam.

Shoes

Don’t forget shoes! Pair any of the above looks with your favorite heels or check out button up boots and vintage inspired shoe styles.

Growing Succulents in Style

Starting your own succulent garden

While in California, I discovered the fun of growing succulents.

Walking around the beautifully manicured streets of the south bay, I saw so many gorgeously landscaped yards with cacti, aloe, and echeveria varietals just…growing. In the yard. (Can you tell I’m a northern gal?!)

I decided I would become a succulent hobbyist. (That’s a thing. I asked Pinterest.)

I went to SummerWinds nursery in my tropical themed tank from Merch Nerds (more on that later) and picked out a couple succulent plants. My favorite was an Echeveria Elegans, a native to Mexico succulent with frosty mint green rosettes that bloom delicate pink flowers with yellow tips.

After photographing them for Instagram (naturally), I researched how to take care of them and start a succulent garden.

Two Ways to Grow Succulents

They can thrive indoors in a pot anywhere or outdoors if you live in certain zones. Quick test: is it like a desert where you live? If yes, plant succulents indoors. No? Mmm, better not, but you can create an indoor succulent garden in a wide bowl. Potted succulent gardens can be gorgeous. Just look at these ones I found at the nursery:

For more inspiration, check out Succulent Garden on Pinterest.

Choosing Your Succulents

I asked the garden center and asked a ton of questions, because my succulent knowledge was low. Here’s what I learned. Some succulents spread on their own, like the Hen and Chicks variety, while some don’t. All are fairly similar in terms of the care needed.

I think just choosing the ones you like the best is the best way to start a succulent garden. See what’s available and go from there. You can add decorative landscaping rock for looks as seen in the succulent bowl above, but you don’t have to.

Caring for Succulents

I’m not an authority on succulents yet, but here is some succulent care advice I’ve picked up from experts so far.

Water them fully, then let them dry completely. If it’s a pot, put it in the sink and water it until the water runs out the bottom. Then don’t water it again until the soil is dry when you touch it. This will likely be about once a month but it could vary depending on how dry your air is.

Make sure your succulent is in a pot that drains! They don’t like their roots sitting in water. And if you have a rosette like my Echeveria Elegans, water the soil and not the rosette itself or the moisture can cause it to rot.

Obvi, they need a lot of light. Keep them away from cold windows, especially at night in cold climates.

Outfit Details

Big thanks to the clever graphic tee company Merch Nerds for this pineapple tank. It’s organic cotton and so soft and comfy! They have tons of other styles and colors on their website, including a cactus tee! How perfect is that? I also really love the Mermaid Off Duty style because if you haven’t heard, I like mermaids.

P.S. if you want to know why buying organic clothing is important to me, read this.

What do you think of my new found succulent gardening hobby? Drop your green thumb wisdom my way!

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