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. 

Colorful Summer Entertaining

Thanks for Sparkling Ice for sponsoring this post. Words, photos and opinions are all by me.

This is one of the first posts I’ve written from California, and wanna know one thing I really love about this place? There are no mosquitoes here, you guys. None! You can sit outside into the evening without risking your life to the bugs. So let’s celebrate that! When you’re hosting a gathering (or a get-together, as they say in the Midwest), you want it to be colorful, engaging and memorable. And since my California house has a backyard with a dining area, here’s a display I made for an evening on the patio last night.

Refreshments for all

While on a family trip as a teenager in a very hippie west coast town, I found a book about clean eating and natural beauty. I read the whole thing, because I was wild teen with a bustling social life and was not at all nerdy.

This book was a real joy killer, because it talked about how we all must give up sugar and anything indulgent to be healthy and beautiful. Instead of soda, you could learn to enjoy plain sparkling water with a dash of juice.

Who would ever want to live like that? I thought. What a sad, sad existence.

But fast forward a decade, and it happened to me. I never touch soda (pop for my MN readers– love ya!). Instead I reach for sparkling water drinks. Now I drink it, well, like water.

Sparkling Ice is a drink that will please all your guests, from the health conscious to those who need something a bit more, shall we say, flavorful.  It’s flavored and sweet, but without the sugar of other sparkling beverages so it would make a great soda replacement. And it’s caffeine free, which I appreciate. Grab it for a picnic, for lunch, or for your awesome summer adventures I know you’re busy planning! Get it easily in time for your parties and events on Amazon.

Cute drink ware

Grab those canning jars I know you have and add a decorative straw made of paper. Paper straws are not only decorative, they biodegrade and don’t hurt wildlife in the ocean! I just love when Eco-friendly and decor-friendly intersect, don’t you?

For an Instagram-worthy drink, I added fruit slices to color coordinate with the fruit flavored water. 

Watermelon skewers

Healthy, colorful and tasty! Skewered triangular slices are easier to eat and they look great on a platter. The skewers are biodegradable as well, so toss ’em in the compost.

 

Simple charcuterie board

A charcuterie board with various meats and cheeses is an easy way to make a dish with a pretty presentation. Adding a sprig of rosemary is a time-honored tradition, as well as a cluster of grapes or handful of blueberries. I like to add something unexpected, such as sliced peppers for a little color and flavor. The end result looks fancy, but it’s actually just cheese on a wooden cutting board. Congrats, you just leveled up to Hosting Level: Expert.

Last minute decorating details

I made this centerpiece (and I use that term loosely here) with the flowers I bought and hadn’t gotten around to planting yet. Who says procrastination doesn’t pay off?

Pop on a vintage apron or other colorful apron for some more fun color. Plus you can wipe your hands on it when they inevitably get sticky from rearranging the watermelon skewer tray. Win!

Need more hosting ideas? Try a tropical dip recipe that’s a colorful crowd pleaser.

The flavors used in this post are Kiwi Strawberry, Pineapple Coconut and Pink Grapefruit but there are tons more – find your favorite flavor here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my summer hosting tips! Use them to add a little color and flavor to the table and help distract people from the fact that your backyard, like ours, might be covered in pine needles and garden hoses.

Are you a sparkling water or fruit flavored water drinker? Tell us in the comments 🙂

You don’t need a DSLR camera. Here’s why.

The perfect camera for bloggers

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “what camera do you use?” I’m asked about it a lot when I’m out shooting at events. It’s so small, it looks like a point and shoot. But it’s not–it’s an Olympus mirrorless micro four-thirds model. It has the functionality of a DSLR, but at a fraction of the size. I think it’s the perfect camera for bloggers (and many other photographers!).

What it’s like to use a mirrorless camera

Here’s what it’s really like to shoot with a mirrorless camera and why for the time being I’m truly happy with this choice. Whether you’re a blogger looking to upgrade your camera or just getting more into photography, here’s what you need to know.

The size.

For me, this is the number one reason why I go the mirrorless route. I just can’t lug around a DSLR and its gear without getting a major neck ache. But with my Olympus, I can throw it in my purse and go to any event. It’s so portable and light.

You know when you see someone with a full frame DSLR and you’re like, “they must be a photographer.” That’s just not going to happen when you’re shooting with a dinky thing that doesn’t even look like it can switch lenses. This can be good and bad depending on the situation. If you travel a lot, a lighter and less expensive-looking camera might be perfect for you. Just some things to think about!

The brand.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Olympus line, which includes a range of cameras from the lower end model I usually shoot with up to pricier camera bodies. Sony is also really well known for its mirrorless line, which one of my fashion photographers used in this shoot–take a look at how well it does!

Some of my other fashion photos are taken by an Olympus EP3 and an Olympus EM-1:

The price.

It seems like you’d be saving money by buying a smaller camera, but sadly this is not really the case. The cost is pretty similar to a starter level DSLR kit–or even a little bit more.

Performance.

Now it’s not a perfect camera. I’m not satisfied with how the Olympus performs in low light, but for many blogging related needs it’s great.

With a prime lens, I can get depth of field for close-up shots for my blog.

It’s also great for taking flat lays for Instagram.

Of course, DSLR cameras are still a great choice. My outfit posts shot by pro photographers are done with DSLR and I used one on my summer cross country road trip. The majority of bloggers I know shoot with the Canon line, and I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. With DSLRs getting smaller and lighter, I may consider getting one down the road. I just want you to be aware that there is a viable alternative for both beginning bloggers and more advanced photographers that I recommend for its portability.

Camera style

Just for fun, here are some camera bags and camera-themed accessories worth checking out.

Which camera do you use? Let me know in the comments!

Mermaids & Summer Plans

Announcing…

Recently I posted about South Dakota travel. There was a reason for that because….I’m going on a road trip this week, one that goes through South Dakota and ends up in Northern California! After my exploratory trip to the Bay Area in March that included presenting at the Tech Fashion Week Fashion Blogger event, I decided I liked it enough to go back for the summer.

I’m excited for what the adventure holds. I’m hoping for lots of farmer’s markets, trips around the Bay Area and starting a garden in a climate where the growing season in longer than two frost-free months a year. If you have a favorite spot in California, drop it in the comments. I hope to travel around a little bit while I’m there.

To celebrate my impending departure, here’s an outfit (if you can call it that) from my last trip to California and some FAQ.

Q: What are you doing there?

A: Well last trip, I went to Half Moon Bay dressed up as a mermaid  (that Halloween costume wasn’t going to re-wear itself) and got drone footage of it so I think the answer to that question is WHO KNOWS REALLY.  But the responsible answer is I’ll be working on my freelance writing and hopefully getting really incredibly inspired by redwood trees and the absence of mosquitoes. It’s all pretty much remote work anyway so not much will change except my zip code and my ability to afford things.

Q: Where are you living?

A: In the South Bay in a house that’s way too full, a bathroom that’s way too shared, a refrigerator that’s packed and I’m just adding to the problem. I did live in a sorority house for two years so I think it will be a lot like that, but with more discussions about start ups.

Follow my adventures on Instagram to see what I’m up to.

What are your summer plans? Let me know in the comments!

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.

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