Box Tops & Louboutins: Stylish Moms

As a mom, there have been plenty of days that I’ve not made it to the shower before dinner time and that just has to be OK.  Also, there are days a workout is more important that looking stylish so I throw on workout clothes and get that done when I can sneak it in and that is as far as I get.  But, when I do decide to pull myself together which IS happening more often as my kids get older, I’ve figured out a few tricks.  Some of these tricks I’ve learned from other stylish moms and some I’ve learned from experience.  Here are a few I’ve gathered along the way.

First of all, it doesn’t have to happen every day.  Some days are just laundry, working out, cleaning and catching up and you should be just dressed for that.  I love these productive days.  Now, when all that is done, here are some go-to style tactics I’ve learned from stylish moms.

  1.  Shirtdresses are great one-stop-shopping pieces.  A cute shirtdress is easy to grab, add a pair of earrings and cute sandals and you look very put together with very little effort.  And, you can have as many shirtdresses as you want.  Lots of great brands make them and they seemingly never go out of style. You can do boots, sandals or wedges and change the look of them as you wish.
  2. A great pair of wedges.  I love Antelope and Marc Fisher currently.  Put these on with a t-shirt dress, jeans or even shorts and take a casual outfit up a notch immediately.
  3. Go-to brands or stores.  I have a few go-to stores where I know I can always find something stylish, age appropriate and fits that work for me.  I was happy to put in the hours of shopping to find my faves.  My go-to stores year after year are J. Crew, Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Madewell and Neiman Marcus (denim).
  4. Accessorize.  Grab a Kendra Scott set or something else that can go with lots of things and you can just throw on to finish a look.  If you have jeans and a tee, but throw on a long necklace and a pair of hoops, the outfit goes from plain to stylish in 2 seconds.
  5. Lipstick.  A great neutral color that looks good on you.  Any make-up counter can help with this.  Put this on with a little mascara and…. stylish!
  6. Find a great stylist.  If you want to shop at higher-end department stores, I recommend going in on a weekday morning right when they open.  You get amazing service and can try on lots of things.  They are very happy to help with size, accessories, etc.  If you enjoy shopping local, find a store near you that carries great brands.  These stores are so great with personal styling.  Henry & Pearl right here in Milton, GA will work with you to get a few great, classic, stylish outfits for the season.
  7. Shop with a stylish, honest friend.  I love to shop with my friends.  We are honest with each other and hold each other to the 3-second test.  That means that you need to love it the moment you put it on.  If you say anything like, “it’s just a little long” or “I’m not sure about…” or anything like these, don’t even bother with it.  You must love it or you won’t wear it.

Please share your tips with me, too.   

 


Me waiting outside a fitting room while a friends tries on jeans. Love helping friends!

 

Hike the Hooch: First Stop, Island Ford

{SMIJ by Jill “Game Day” hats and football thermal available at Henry & Pearl}

We love to hike and part of the fun is heading out of town an hour or more to find great spots to explore.  Let me clarify “we love”.  It’s always me coming up with the idea and “breaking the news” to the rest of the family.  Pat is usually pretty quick to jump on board.  I think he has already prepared himself for what he knows is coming as soon as the weather starts getting nice.  The kids want to know “how long of a drive is it?”, “can we bring our iPads, iPhones, etc?”, “What time will we be back?”, “What about my friends?”.  They give in pretty easily because they know I won’t give up!  And, let me tell you, without fail, 100% of the time, the one who complains the most about going is the one who never wants to leave.  Just sayin… Sometimes mom does know best.  And, we are all just different people after a few hours in nature.  There is just nothing like getting that fresh Georgia air into every last cell in your body.

So, while it’s fun to explore the endless options to hike around Georgia, sometimes you just don’t have that much time.  For those days, we have so many great options right in town.  I thought this Fall it would be fun to explore some favorites around the Chattahoochee.  Please share your experiences, too.  We are always looking for new places to explore.

First stop, Island Ford in Sandy Springs.  This park is right off Exit 6 in Dunwoody.  Very easy to get to, lots of parking and well-managed and staffed.  It is open every day except Christmas!  There is even a nice visitor’s center with clean restrooms and a park attendant to answer questions.  For your little – or big – scientists, they have a cool microscope display where the kids can get up close and personal with things they see in Georgia.

We started with this hike because it is very easy.  It is short and flat with breathtaking views of the river.  You can even take your shoes off and wade into the cool water in some kid-friendly spots.  We wish we would have brought a little snack because we wanted to enjoy a picnic on one of the rocks sticking out into the river – and because no one wanted to leave.  Remember that “mom knows best” thing…. The kids want to come back next weekend with bathing suits and a picnic.

The trail is fully shaded the entire way, but you can easily step off the trail at many spots to get close to the river and enjoy the sun.  I do recommend bug spray although we didn’t get bit, it seemed like a good thing to have along.  There are also two huge rock formations along the trail that kids can explore.  Great picture spots, too!  People were fishing, rafting, kayaking and enjoying this river.  We had a blast and we were back home right after lunch time with our lungs full of fresh air, our minds calm and plans for our next Chattahoochee adventure.  Stay tuned…




What Does a Farmhouse a Smell Like?

 

Back Porch, Farmhouse, Southern Charm, Burlap and Barnwood, Pecan Pie, Sweet Tea, Front Porch, Vine Ripe Tomato – these are names of candle scents! Every last one of those puts me in a happy place.  And, they are gorgeous.  I really love candles and this time of year I light them all.  The last question my husband asks me each night is “how many candles did you light?”  He counts them as blows them out to make sure we got them all.  I just love the glow, the smell and the season.  Yesterday a sweet friend gave me my first Park Hills Candle in Farmhouse.  I mean…. where have I been???  This candle is beautiful and smells great.  I just love it.  This will not be my last Park Hills, for sure.  I have to try ALL the other scents that are so creatively named.  I’ve pulled together a shopping list for you below, too.  Click any picture to shop.  These are awesome gift ideas.  I know I loved receiving one as a gift.  This gift will keep on giving for 150 hours!

Can’t Miss at Madewell

I can’t tell you how many times I walked past Madewell in Lenox Mall and never thought about going in. I shop surgically. 🙂 I usually have little time and I know my favorite places so I usually hit my top shops – Anthropologie, Nordstrom, etc and there’s not a lot of browsing around. When Madewell opened a location closer to me, I got interested and popped in. Now, it’s become a go-to shop for casual dresses. For example, this great short sleeve denim pullover. Loved wearing this over the weekend. It’s a great transition-to-Fall dress because you can add layers of boots as the weather changes. It’s a great color and the fit is perfection. It’s got pleats in just the right places to make it flattering AND comfortable – a balance that I love.

So… With all that being said, I don’t think this exact dress is still available. But, never fear because I’ve also learned this: There is ALWAYS more than one great denim dress at Madewell!

As a matter of fact, I’ve linked to 20 below.  Scroll down and shop the list I’ve put together.  Fun!

 

Live on the Edge into Fall

One way that I transition a summer dress into Fall is by adding some edgy, heavier pieces. Here I took my favorite summer dress and added some gunmetal, all black accessories, oversize, black sunnies and, of course, some snakeskin.  And, to give it a bit more Fall vibe, my new Bond lipcolor.  I was cool as a cucumber all day, but looked a little less summery.  Have I mentioned how much I love this dress?!?! 

I Was Winning Until the Shoes

I had a minor panic attack when I realized that at this time next year my baby would be in kindergarten and definitely choosing her own clothes. I look at what the girls are wearing at our elementary school and it’s not little dresses and bows. More jeans and Uggs! While I’m a huge fan of the Jeans & Uggs Program, I realized I only had this short little year of preschool to impose my choices on her. Most days I do let her choose her “outfits”. They always include multiple shades of pink from head-to-toe and, while they rarely “go together”, they are very cute little glimpses into her sparkly personality. 

Then there are the days I do, admittedly, make her wear what I want her to wear. It usually involves some bribery, but it’s worth it. On this day I won the battle from the ankles up. From there down, she won. I do NOT think pink animal print sneakers go with this cute Hanna Andersson dress, but I have to admit I make similar choices (see my snakeskin Tory Burch sandals in about every other post!). 

These Hanna Andersson poplin tunic dresses are great transitional dresses to start school. They come in a few colors and have fun leggings that go with them for a polished back-to-school look until they switch to jeans and never look back. 

Carried Away, but Smell Great

I can admit it… I am totally obsessed with Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soaps and Room Fresheners.  I love my house, but since it holds two kids, a very large, old, shedding Lab and I’m always cooking with garlic I’m afraid that I could be “noseblind”.  Not to mention, my old outdoor cat who seems to have stopped supplementing his diet with regular hunts, has recently been enjoying a diet of canned cat food which really STINKS even though I put the cans in plastic bags in the outside trash.  He’s happy in his old age, but WOW… the smell…  I’ve even asked some visitors lately if my house smells bad and begged them to be honest. I think they were, but I’m not taking any chances.  And, what a good excuse to try all the Mrs. Meyer’s Scents – and they make cute addtions to my home decor, too.  I’m currently loving Honeysuckle for downstairs.

{Click on the pictures below for details on scents and where to buy or order on-line using links.}

Dinner Party Wardrobe Changes

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Ok, maybe changing for every course could be a bit obnoxious, but… I’ve got the answer.  Aprons are the answer!  I love my Anthropologie apron.  It’s actually very useful to keep my clothes from getting stained during meal prep AND it’s so cute, it’s like an outfit by itself.  So, grab an apron and you can actually wear a second outfit for dinner parties.  Hee Hee!  OK, still obnoxious, but at least, justifiable.  Click on any picture below to shop the apron.

Favorite Summer Mani/Pedi Colors

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I have two go-to summer colors for manis and pedis. I had forgotten about them until I was getting ready for the beach. Here they are: Manicures – Topless & Barefoot and Pedicures – Private Weekend.  Both look great with all your Summer OOTDs and with a tan. Happy Summer!

Trucker Hats & Ray-Bans

I seem to be developing a habit…  I’m loving trucker hats with aviators this summer.  Great way to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes and there are so many great options right now.  My hats are Judith March (with the exception of my Cowgirl Kitchen one) and there are so many other fun ones out there, too.  I’ve linked to a bunch below.  Cover your summer!