Saturday, December 31, 2016

a look back at 2016

2016 was an interesting year of refining my style and discovering more about what I enjoy blogging about. It was a year of learning how to balance: I lost some weight, but gained some of it back. I started the year blogging full-force, but had to tapper back toward the end of the year. Above all, this year has shown me how much I still love and enjoy this space and am so grateful for everyone who stops by, reads and comments.

favorite outfits:

one  |  two  |  three  |  four
five  |  six  |  seven  |  eight

I didn't realize it until I put this collage together, but almost all over this year's favorite outfits are a shade a blue. :) Comparing 2015 to 2016, I've noticed a more consistent outfit look and style. One of the great things about blogging has been being able to visual see what's working...

outfit fails:
one  |  two  |  three  |  four
five  |  sixseven  |  eight

...and what's not. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with these outfits, but they were outfits that were just blah, I didn't feel all that confident in, or didn't feel like me, if that makes sense.

favorite purchases:
April turned out be one of my best purchase months with two of my favorite purchases of the year: J. Crew's mirco pleated midi skirt and the Kate Spade Cedar Hayden. It's hard to pick an absolutely favorite outfit, but the one featuring this skirt is certainly way up there and I carry this bag almost daily. I still get a ton of real-life compliments on it; it's such a happy color. The J. Crew Factory seersucker blazer is one of my favorite purchases because it's a bit different than other items I've purchased in the past, but has a way of pulling together just about any outfit.

regret purchases:
I'm not sure there was anything wrong with these purchases other than the Ann Taylor striped blouse doesn't get much wear - it just isn't something I reach for when I'm getting ready- and as cute as the Limited piped blazer is, the fit is a little off and I feel bulky and boxy in it. It kills me to say that I regret the Milly colorblock flats because they are soooo cute, but I just can't get them broken in. Wearing them means guaranteed blisters on the back of my heels and on the tops of my big toes. Ouch! I've tried band aids and blister pads, ideas on how to get them to stop killing my feet?

favorite posts:

one  |  two  |  three

Aubrey's second birthday party was one of my favorite diy/outfit combo posts, and the nutcrackers were so fun - and cheap to make - but I think my top post of the year was styling the same skirt with my petite friend Casey. We may be different sizes, but she's definitely my style twin!

most viewed posts:
one  |  two  |  three

Packing posts remain some of my most viewed posts in addition to the #momstyleremix series. Mom Style Remix was hands down my absolutely favorite linkup I participated in this year!

favorite instagram photos:
one  |  two  |  three

looking toward 2017: 

I definitely want to work on more consistent blogging in the coming year, though I'm not exactly sure yet what that will look like. From about August on, I've really struggled to find time to blog, and I know that the content has suffered somewhat. I appreciate everyone's patience as I've had to take a step away from Teal and Polka Dots. I still love this space, but I truly believe if you're going to do something, you should try your best to do it well. I don't feel like I've been able to give my best to the blog lately. That may mean less posts in 2017, or I'm toying with coming up with a set posting schedule: something like Thoughts and Whatnots on Sundays, outfit posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, DIY/Pinterest-inspired Wednesdays, I don't know...I'm still thinking on it. For the most part, aside from set linkups, I just blog what comes to me, but a schedule may help with time and consistency. :)

Here's to an amazing 2017! We're having a quiet night with the kiddo, and probably will be lucky to make it to EST midnight (I'm on central time) #parentlife amiright? But the champagne is chilling and I'm ready to ring in the new year!

december budget

december budget_zpsuiou4b5i
  1. Sam Edelman Franics flats: $120, on sale for $89.90
  2. Bourbon and Boweties pearl bracelet: $34
  3. Loft diamond utility blouse: $59.50, on sale for $35
  4. J. Crew Factory plaid ruffle shirt: $74.50, on sale for $29.60
  5. J. Crew Factory lace pencil skirt: $95, on sale for $30.40
December budget: $218.90
fourth quarter budget: $600 - $146.75 in October - $233.19 in November - $218.90 in December = 
$1.16 under for the fourth quarter

Though I originally thought I wouldn't have time to do much personal shopping since December was filled with Christmas present shopping, but I still found enough time to score some of my own Merry Christmas to me goodies. But at least a managed to be a whopping whole dollar under budget for the quarter. :)

My favorite purchases this month are these pretty dusty pink scallop flats and pearl wire bracelet. I've been majorly, shamelessly crushing on these Sam Edelman flats them since seeing them on Fran (see a peak of them here). I got mine in a size 9, and thought they are touch bigger than average, but not large enough to justify going down a size. I added a pair of back of heel cushions and now the fit is great! As I mentioned in last month's budget, I also decided to get another pearl Bourbon and Boweties bracelet to create the ultimate pearl stack (see it here). 

I originally bought this pretty black lace pencil skirt and plaid ruffle shirt from J. Crew Factory to wear in Christmas card photos, but the little one refused to have anything to do with them (oh the joys of trying to take your own holiday photos) so we ended up scrapping the family photo and just sent a card full of her cute face. The skirt is a size 16 and the top a size XL. I ended up wearing the shirt quite a bit this holiday season and I know I'll get plenty of work wear of of this skirt, so it wasn't a total purchasing wash. :) The Loft utility blouse is an XL and I think it'll look great with a pair of pencil pants, or layered under a sweater, or paired with a blouse.

december budget_gifts_zps7i3phpgc
What I got as a gift:
I got some truly lovely Christmas gifts this year including a stunning Mariana rose gold bracelet and black lace top from Loft. While window shopping during my husband's and my "day date" yesterday I found the Kendra Scott Kimmy necklace in granite I've bend drooling over for months now, and it was even prettier in real-life! So, my sweet husband bought it for me as a post-Christmas gift.

January will start out a new year a new budgeting quarter. Hard to believe that tomorrow kicks of 2017! Here's a to new year filled with fabulous purchases.

//  Sharing on Franish's Budgeting Bloggers.  //

Monday, December 26, 2016

home for the holidays packing list

For the first time in more than five years, I'm headed home to my beloved Tennessee for the holidays - well technically the week in between Christmas and New Years. A trip more than overdue, I can't wait to spend time with family and friends!

When deciding what to pack, I decided to skip the red and green go with a more wintery color palette of navy, green and yellows since it's not technically Christmas anymore.

what's in my suitcase: 
(3) tops:
  • J. Crew Factory plaid tuxedo top (exact)
  • Gap Factory polka dot button down shirt (exact
  • J. Crew Factory stripe boatneck shirt (exact)

(4) layering pieces:

(2) bottoms:
  • American Eagle dark wash skinny jeans (similar)
  • American Eagle medium wash jeggings (exact)

(2) shoes:

(5) accessories: 

It's supposed to be in the 50s/60s during the day, but cold at night, so layers were way to go. I only came up with one outfit per day, but the items could easy be mixed and matched. How cute would the gray plaid button down shirt look with the yellow and gray check cardigan? It's also supposed to rain while we're there, so I thought it would be fun to throw my Hunter boots into the mix. If only I had cable boot socks go with... cozy outfit perfection. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

thoughts and whatnots 12.25.16

canvas jacket and stripes:  one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:
  • on the blog: What's pink, checked and somewhat glittery? My outfit, that's what. :) 
  • on instagram: Rediscovering my love for flare jeans. 
  • on pinterest: Not that I have an occasion to wear it, but this pin has me convinced I need a tulle maxi skirt...
  • coming up on the blog: Tomorrow I'm sharing a four-day mini packing list as well as December budget post later this week. 

favorite sales:

  • Merry Christmas friends! I hope you have an amazing day with family and friends. I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who stop by, read and comment on this space. Ya'll make it all worth it; I appreciate and thank you! :)
  • what I'm watching: All the Christmas movies. 
  • what I'm listening to: Christmas carols during the hour-long drive to my mom's house. 
  • what I'm crushing on:
  • what I'm looking forward to: Going home to Tennessee for a few days!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

pink plaid

Only a day and a half (tomorrow's a half work day for me) until the holiday break begins! My husband asked me last night if it felt like Christmas yet, and idk, it still kind of doesn't for me. Maybe it's because I've been so busy lately, or maybe I just haven't hit my quota of Christmas movies and eggnog? :)

We're having an early Christmas with my parents tonight, Christmas with my in-laws on Christmas Eve, Christmas with my mom and stepdad on Christmas Day and the day after we're off to Tennessee for a few days to visit with friends and family. My best friend since the seventh grade now lives in Missouri, but comes home for the holidays each year so this will be the first time we've seen each other in five years...since my wedding to be exact. Too, too long, so this trip is definitely the best Christmas present by far.

In addition to wrapping gifts - I'm such a procrastinator - I'm also working on a trip packing list, so be on the lookout for that on Monday!

top: Old Navy (cute alternative)
pants: Loft (similar - comes in red and bright pink!) last worn here
shoes: Madewell (similar)
earrings: Kate Spade (exact)
watch: Fossil (exact face with a leather band)

//  Sharing on Fabulous Friday.  //

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

4 days...

Hard to believe that Christmas is a mere four days away. The past week and a half has been a crazy blur of last minute work projects, holiday parties, Christmas present shopping and trying to squeeze in some family time.

Speaking of Christmas presents, I recently bought this fun stripe shift dress as a little merry Christmas to myself. For only $15, I think it was a purchase well justified. :) It's still available in small sizes in the black and white stripe and all sizes in the red and navy stripe (love!) and solid black. I got it in a L tall thinking it would be knee length, but as you can see it's still pretty darn short, so that's something to consider if you decide you want one for yourself.

jacket: Old Navy (similar) last worn here
dress: Old Navy (exact)
boots: Arturo Chiang (exact) last worn here
necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)
watch: Fossil (exact face with a leather band)
bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact three pearl, exact six pearl)

//  Sharing on What I Wore.  //

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

mom style remix: blanket scarves

mom style remix blanket scarves

Though it's rarely cold enough to wear blanket scarves in Florida, they're one of my favorite things to wear. I love how they add a little something extra to an otherwise boring outfit and they're easy to throw on and go. So here's a few of my favorite blanket scarf outfits for today's #momstyleremix challenge: scarves.

look #1: almost monochromatic 
mom style remix scarves two up_6
scarf: Target (cute alternative)  |  sweater: Loft (exact)  |  shirt: Boden (exact)  |  pants: Loft (exact)  |  shoes: Madewell (similar)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact face with a leather band)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)

A colorful scarf helps break up and otherwise monochromatic look. I recently found this scarf in Target's dollar spot, so while I couldn't find it online, it might just be available in stores. :)

look #2: red blazer
mom style remix scarves two up_8
scarf:  Target (cute alternative)   |  blazer: J. Crew Factory (similar)  |  shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  jeans: American Eagle (exact)  |   boots: Arturo Chiang (exact)  |  earrings:  Stella & Dot (similar)

It actually managed to be cold on Friday, so I threw on this fun blazer, stripe shirt and boots...and a blanket scarf of course!

look #3: polka dotted
mom style remix scarves two up_5
scarf: Target (cute alternative)  |  sweater: J. Crew (similar)  |  shirt: Loft (similar)  |  pants: The Limited (exact)  |  shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact face with a leather band)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)

A cold - a quite blustery - day calls for extra layers and a scarf. 

look #4: mustard yellow
mom style remix scarves two up_4
scarf: The Boutique at the Island  (similar)  |  sweatshirt: Forever21 (similar)  |  shirt: Boden (exact)  |  jeans: Banana Republic (similar)  |  bag: Coach  |  shoes:  Madewell (cute alternative)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  bracelet: Loft (similar)  |  earrings: Kate Spade (exact)

This look is one of my favorite's from last year's "Six Ways to Style a Blanket Scarf" post. The yellow is so cheerful!

look #5: little black dress
mom style remix scarves two up_3
scarf: eBay (practically identical)  |  dress: J. Crew Factory (similar)  |  shoes: Vince Camuto (exact)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  Fossil (similar)  |  bracelet: Loren Hope (exact)

I wore this outfit just over a year ago, and it's still one of my favorite winter work looks. 

look #6: over the shoulder
mom style remix scarves two up_2 scarf: The Boutique at the Island (similar)  |  shirt: Boden (exact)  |  jeans: Banana Republic (similar)  |  shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)  |  bag: Coach  |  watch: Target (similar)  |  earrings: Mariana (similar)

Another throwback to "Six Ways to Way a Blanket Scarf," I like how a pairing of heels and tossing a scarf over your shoulder can elevate an otherwise plain outfit.

look #7: black pencil skirt
mom style remix scarves two up_7
scarf:  Target (cute alternative)  |  shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)  |  skirt: J. Crew Factory  |  boots: Arturo Chiang (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact face with a leather band)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)  |  earrings:  Stella & Dot (similar)

I'm actually wearing this today and made my husband take a few quick snaps so I could include it today's post. Riding boots, a pencil skirt, tee and scarf are one of my favorite winter go-to outfits. 

look #8: pops of pink
mom style remix scarves two up_1
scarf: The Boutique at the Island  (similar)  |  blazer: GAP (similar)  |  shirt: Boden (exact)  |  jeans:  Banana Republic (similar)  |   shoes: Old Navy (similar)  |  bag: Lulu*s  |  watch: Target (similar)  |  bracelet: Sage K. and Co (designer original, designer dupe)
A final look at "Six Ways to Way a Blanket Scarf," with a knotted blanket scarf and pops of pink.

Many thanks to Anne and Jenn for hosting #momstyleremix! Hard believe we're already at the final challenge of the series. The almost year along linkup really challenged me to come up with new looks and rethink my wardrobe. So glad I participated; it was fantastic!

What more #momstyleremix? Check out my tote bags, jackets, chambray, colored bottoms, T-shirts. cardigans, sneakers, sweatshirts and jeans remixes.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

thoughts and whatnots 12.11.16

sweater + skirt + cute shoes = red sweater uniform: one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:

favorite sales:

  • what I'm watching: the Last Holiday while knitting Christmas presents.
  • what I'm crushing on: I just discovered sweater leggings and I think I'm in love. So soft, so cozy with a bunch of different options to chose from: like these fun deep red diamond pattern ones, these crazy stripe leggings - obsessed with the matching toddler pair with visions of mommy and me Christmas jammies dancing in my head - and this black and white patterned pair I just bought from Target and have worn around the house since Friday night - don't judge. :)
  • what I'm looking forward to: wrapping up Christmas present shopping. Thanks to online shopping, I managed to knockout almost all of my holiday shopping this weekend. Now it's time to sit back, relax and wait for the packages to roll in and the present wrapping to begin!

Friday, December 9, 2016

project 366: november

In an effort to capture more of the everyday moments, I'm using my iPhone to take a picture each day for a year. Here's a few of my favorites/most memorable from November:

November 1: My husband and I snuck away for a brief early anniversary getaway to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. We stayed onsite at the The Village Hotel at Biltmore Estate and took part of a sparkling bubbles wine tour. My favorite being the Pas de Deux Moscato - yum!

November 2: We didn't realize it until the night before that our trip coincided with the arrival of the Biltmore Christmas tree raising. It so fun to see the 35-foot fraser fir tree brought in by Santa!

November 3: Sad that our mini-trip was over, but loved seeing the mountains views on our way back to Tennessee.

November 22: This Dollar Tree nutcracker makeover is now one of my favorite holiday DIYs.

November 26: I *admittedly* went a little crazy making festive holidays pillows - green stripe with pom poms, plaid, knitted - to add to our already extensive pillow collection...Solution? Make a pillow fort!

and a gif of all 30 days:

Thursday, December 8, 2016


I had my DSLR all setup and ready to go to take pictures then realized...I forgot my memory instead resorted to my camera phone. My apologizes, the quality is well, meh, but the outfit so fun and festive, I wanted to share anyway!

Well, that and I've been waiting almost a year to wear this skirt after scoring it on major clearance at J. Crew Factory. Good plaid things come to those who wait? While this exact skirt is no longer available, I found some other really great plaid pencil skirt options listed below.

sweater: J. Crew Factory (similar) last worn here
skirt: J. Crew Factory 
shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact) last worn here
earrings: Kate Spade (exact)
bracelet: EnyaJewelry via Amazon (exact, the original)

plaid skirt options:

one  |  two  |  three  |  four (my favorite)

 via Instagram

//  Sharing on Fabulous Friday.  //