Black and White Style Challenge

This post is a very exciting one for me because it is my first collaboration!  I've teamed up with two other lovely ladies and we all styled our favorite black and white looks.  Black and white are so classic and can be styled so many different ways!  They are the perfect neutrals.

While picking out what I wanted to share for this challenge, I realized I have a crazy amount of black and white dresses.  Apparently I really love black and white and can never pass it up!  Check out my Instagram for the evidence...

I landed on this cream colored Aqua dress from Bloomingdales that has a circle skirt style bottom - my absolute favorite.  I added a patent leather black belt and put the buckle in the back - one of my favorite tricks to look more polished!

With a pretty plain dress I love to wear a statement necklace and this one was perfect!  Big and bright!  I got this in my latest Rocksbox (You have one more day to use code katiexoxo1 for a FREE month!!).

My shoes are a rarity in my closet - heels!  I'm 5'9" so I don't feel the need to wear a lot of heels ever but they looked super cute with this outfit.  Luckily it is not a long walk from my room to my picture-taking spot because I can NOT walk in those things!  Ha ha!

Be sure to check out my collaborators and their black and white style (click on their names):

                                        Kristina                                                     Justina

This has been really fun so be sure to check out my 'contact me' page if you ever want to work together!

Style Challenge: Bridesmaid Ensamble Ideas

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I was recently engaged!  My boyfriend of 6 years popped the question on 12/17/14 in the most perfect way!

Almost immediately after, I went into hyper-wedding-planning mode.  I am so excited to be in this chapter of my life and even though we won't be tying the knot for about a year I can't help but start planning every little detail.

So when I was contacted by Weddington Way to participate in their Bridesmaids Style Challenge I jumped at the chance!

I've put together a sort of "first draft" of how I envision my bridesmaids looking.  Our wedding colors will be Black, White, and Gold - it is going to be a formal affair!

Even if my girls end up wearing something different I think this look would be perfect for my day.  Simple, classic, elegant - all words I want my guests saying and thinking as they think of my big day!

Let me know what you think of this look or how your bridesmaids will look/looked in the comments.

Don't forget to Sparkle!

How to Save Money - Part 1: Short Term

Welcome to the first part of a new series: How to Save Money.  I know this is mainly a fashion blog but let's face it - fashion isn't free!  So technically this does relate.  Plus who doesn't want a few tips on how to save up some extra cash?

The holidays are over and the end of season sales are winding down.  My bank account is taking a sigh of relief!  It is hard to resist all of those great deals, but when you buy a bunch of stuff 75% off you're still spending quite a bit!

I have always been very conservative with money and would consider myself someone who is "good with money".  I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I am saying that I've never been in debt and I think I can offer up some knowledge if you're someone who feels money burning a hole in your pocket.

Part one is going to focus on the short term; i.e. saving up for something specific.  I know a lot of my readers are like me and are anxiously awaiting the April 19th launch of Lilly for Target (follow their Instagram for sneak peaks!).  And while these items are rumored to be more budget friendly, five $30 items means $150!  I know I don't just have that lying around to spend frivolously.

So whatever it is that you've got your eye on, keep reading for my tips on how to save up!

First things first.  You can't save money if you don't have money.  Well any one of any age is able to get some money - if you're willing to work!  Ask your parents if you can do some extra chores for cash.  Crafty?  Make something and sell it to friends - or if you're feeling really ambitious start a shop on Etsy!  My cousin offered to mow his neighbors' yards for a much better price than the professionals and saved up quite a bit.  You can even clean out your closet and take clothes to Plato's Closet or sell them online through Poshmark (use code HUCJB for $5 when you sign up!) or Twice.  There ARE ways to make money - just be creative and willing to do some work.

So now you have some extra money.  Any time this is the case it is so tempting to run out and buy that cute cardigan from Target!  This brings me to my first saving tip.

1. Deprive yourself.  No one wants to hear that, I know.  But the truth is this is the ONLY way to save!  You have to tell yourself NO.  You likely have a whole closet full of clothes but still want something new.  Well too bad.  Sorry for the tough love but next time you reach for that new top remind yourself of your end goal.  What is it that you are saving for?  You could even go as far as keeping a picture of it on your phone to look at whenever temptation strikes.  Saving money is pretty similar to being on a diet.  You want to eat that piece of cake but you have to deprive yourself.  And luckily for short term savings, your deprivation is only temporary!

You really have to commit to step one or all of my other points are moot.

2. Get a piggy bank!  Sounds childish but its actually a great way to save!  And you don't have to actually get a piggy bank (for that matter you really shouldn't - those things can be expensive!).  I use a plastic cup.  You could get a cheap mason jar and decorate with ribbon (I feel a tutorial coming on...and here it is).  Basically some sort of container to sit in your foyer or room.  Every time you come home or clean out your purse, put your loose change there.  It adds up faster than you think!  And if you live with others, ask them if they wouldn't mind giving you their loose change, I bet they'll be happy to!  Especially if they're your parents ;)

3. Sales and coupons.  Whenever you are saving you are likely still going to have to spend to survive.  You'll have to continue to buy food, toiletries, and the occasional necessity like new tights for a dance recital.  So whatever you do buy, use coupons or buy what's on sale.  Milk never really goes on sale and a few other things you'll just have to pay full price for.  Stock up with BOGOs at Publix, clip coupons in the Sunday paper, take advantage of CVS' extrabucks offers.  And if the Chips Ahoy cookies aren't on sale this week, just go without - I bet they'll be on sale soon!

4. Make a graphic.  Saving is all about motivation.  You have to be motivated to succeed!  So make one of those thermometer charts and fill it in as you reach milestones - be that every $10 or every $100.  Depends on how much you're trying to save.

5. Treat yourself.  What??  Yep, again saving is like dieting.  You have to give yourself a treat once in a while or you will end up binging on an entire bag of chips out of desperation!  Maybe that cardigan your had your eye on went on sale this week - consider getting it, you deserve it!  Just make sure you aren't rewarding yourself too often or too soon.  If you've only saved $15 so far, maybe you shouldn't get the $15 sweater... logic people, that's all you need!  Now head to the dollar spot and pick out a cute notebook instead :D

6. Track your money.  Sounds easy enough but the results may shock you.  Write down EVERYTHING you spend money on - be it a drink from the vending machine or groceries for a week.  You probably drop a few bucks here and there more than you think.  I've created an easy spreadsheet you can use.  You can print it out by clicking here.  Seeing that on paper and adding up how much you spend each week will help you think twice before you pay $1.50 for that candy bar at the register.

Well that's it!  Most of these tips apply for long term or short term saving.  Either way just remember "Good things come to those who wait!" - my mom told me this my whole life and it really is true.  I'm going to start following my own advice and hopefully by the time April comes I can be first in line to snatch up all that Lilly!!

What are you saving up for?  How do you do it?  Share with me in the comments!

I hope you liked this post and if not a new outfit post will be up soon!

Don't forget to sparkle (and save!)
XO ~ Katie

Warm Winter Plaid

For several months now I have been swooning over Instagram and Pinterest pics with amazing fall and winter outfits!  I adore the layered look, J Crew vests, and leather boots.  Can we all take a minute to swoon together?

Unfortunately I have been stuck in summer over here and if I layered my outfits may end up with heat stroke!  This is the first week I have actually been able to "bundle up" (I used quotes because that consists of a long sleeve top and my North Face jacket...) and wear some boots!

But up to this point I have been trying to transition to fall and winter without being able to wear the typical warm clothing.

My solution?  Wear darker colors and add plaid wherever possible!

I love this plain navy dress from Aqua.  It is so versatile you can bet you'll be seeing it again!

The matching headband and scarf are hand made by yours truly!  Find them in my Etsy shop if you'd like one of your own!

These Michael Kors loafer style flats add a pop of color!

Last but SO not least is this Loren Hope bracelet.  It looks like a little bow and that makes it beyond perfect!  I got this bracelet through Rocksbox,  a jewelry subscription service.  Check out this post to learn more (we are talking designer jewelry for $19/month!!).

Okay okay I can not possible complain about warm weather - I wouldn't want it any other way!  But if there is one upside to living somewhere cooler (and I think there is only just this one up side) it would be the clothes!

The sources for the first three pictures can be found here:

Last Minute Tips - Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale

Nothing says procrastination like writing a blog post less than 12 hours before the start of a sale!  But I hope you will still find these tips helpful, especially if this is your first Lilly sale.
The last APS (after party sale) was my first ever Lilly sale.  I think I might have owned one or two Lilly items before that but I was still a newbie for sure.

That being said, I saw the "sale" prices and thought - you have got to be kidding me!  That is way too much for a tank top!  But I quickly learned after the sale was over what a dummy I was!  Yes the prices are still high but if you want Lilly you have to accept the fact that you are not going to find bargain bin pricing for brand new stuff.  I've found my share of deals for Lilly (check out this post, this one, and this one!) but I am excited to go into tomorrow's sale with a different mindset than my first.

Go onto the site right this second and create an account.  Don't wait because the site will be down the hour before the sale tomorrow.  You don't want to be wasting time typing in card numbers when you could be snagging the perfect dress!

The other tip I have (along with everyone else, including the Lilly site) is to make multiple purchases.  Having something in your cart does NOT make it yours!  I did not follow this tip last time and lost out on several things.  Now I know to buy buy buy, so what if you have multiple charges on your card?  In the end you're paying the same amount because, oh yeah, shipping is FREE!

Decide your top item and go for that first.  I want dresses so I will be heading to them first and foremost.

Don't think - okay think some what or you could end up with a large dose of buyer's remorse at the end of the day.  But what I mean is if you love something, buy it immediately!  If you don't someone else will and then you will be sad.  Plus the best thing with Lilly is that you can so easily re-sell it.  There are so many avenues to do that through and it will go quick especially if you sell it for what you paid for it.  So if you regret buying something don't fret too much.

That being said do not buy up everything to re-sell, give everyone a chance to get their "holy grail".  Lilly should be about having fun, not making a profit (although I'm sure their's are quite large with what a simple dress costs! Ha!)

Remember this isn't Amazon.  Your purchases will not arrive two days later.  Since there is such a high volume of traffic it takes some time to get your stuff.  Oh and since you're making several purchases - expect several packages at your door! 

Side note, feel free to skip ahead if you don't want to see a rant :)  Being an Industrial Engineer the fact that they send multiple packages drives me INSANE.  Do they not see how much they are wasting on shipping costs?!?!  They straight up tell people to make multiple purchases so they know that's what happens.  Why not just put all the items together?  If anyone from Lilly is reading this please let me know your reasoning because I seriously can not figure it out!

Okay back to tips - I read some of these tip posts before my first sale and everyone talked about the awful site crashes.  I guess Lilly got smart because I never experienced that last time!  Lucky me!  I hope the same goes for this one!

Good luck Lilly lovers!

P.S. - If you're interested in some stress-free Lilly accessories check out my Etsy shop (will re-open Jan. 9th) for makeup bags, hair bows, key chains, and more! 

Don't forget to sparkle! ~ Katie