Thursday, June 30, 2016

pin to present: side slit maxi dress + linkup

I've been obsessed with making a maxi dress since I found this deceptively-simple looking tutorial by Elle Apparel. I just love the short-sleeves, the soft drape of her fabric choice, and Leanne looks freaking amazing. She nailed that dress.

blue maxi dress DIY_pin to present

Let me begin by saying, I'm not a sewer. When I do decide to attempt to sew something, it takes both my husband and myself (and YouTube) to get the machine setup and threaded. I've really only made pillows and curtains, with crib bumpers being my most challenging project. So, perhaps a dress was a bit overly-ambitious, but I decided to dive into it anyway, and after a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears (and a few curses sprinkled in), I have my version of this slide-split maxi to show you!

blue maxi dress DIY 6

I started off following the tutorial from Elle Apparel, but had to make modifications along the way due to of our differences in size and because I totally screwed up the skirt. Leanne recommends 3-yards of fabric, but since she's a lot smaller than me, I opted for 4-yards of this pretty challis fabric from Craftsy. (The cotton version of the print is still available on their website, or has the rayon I used.) Glad I ordered extra, because I ended up using almost all 4-yards! I also decided to be a rebel and not to use paper/muslin to make a pattern, which proved to be a mistake later on.

I made the top exactly as Leanne did by folding the fabric in half and using a T-shirt as a guide. But because of our differences in size, I couldn't cut out the skirt as she recommended. I ended up not accounting for the fabric being flat instead of folded, so it was angled on one side and straight on the other. Opps. After a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth and dramatically lamenting that it was all ruined, RUINED, I figured out a way to fix it, so my skirt ended up being more straight than flared like the original. And don't even get me started on adding the elastic. (So much pricked fingers and blood involved.) Leanne also recommends adding eight inches in width to both the skirt and top, but I ended up with more like three-to-four inches thanks to the skirt screw-up. Which actually worked out better in the long-run, because the extra fabric probably would have been too much on my curvier frame.

blue maxi dress DIY 5
So why go on about the struggles this project gave me? I want to be real here, and not just show a pretty dress and be all like "look what I made, it was so easy." 'Cause that would be lies. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the tutorial, it's all operator-error.

The whole time I made this dress I was convinced it would be a pintrosity - so many mistakes along the way - I seriously questioned my sanity throughout the process. Because I didn't have a clue what I was doing, it took waaaaay longer to make than I thought it would - finishing of all the hems being the worst and most tedious. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't fun to make. But, it ended up all coming together, and I actually really like the final result, despite all the grief it gave me! It's cool and comfortable, the fabric is light-weight and has a nice drape, and I love the color and pattern. I learned how to turn a hem and how to do a blind-stitch hem (thanks YouTube) and I finally figured how to thread that darn sewing machine by myself. And I got a pretty dress out of it.

Does that mean I'm ready to make another one anytime soon? Absolutely not, but I am dying to make this kimono, coincidentally also by Elle Apparel. I must be a glutton for punishment, but I'm convinced it's got to be easier than this dress, right?

blue maxi dress DIY 4
Dress: made by me (solid blue option, patterned option)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Clutch: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Sandals: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties (exact pearl wire), Loft (similar drusy) and Kreations (similar initial)

blue maxi dress DIY 3 blue maxi dress DIY 2 blue maxi dress DIY 1

I'm so excited to co-host Anne's Pin to Present linkup this month! Anne was also so nice to feature me today on her work-to-weekend guest series, where you can see how I styled this dress with a blazer for work an a fedora for the weekend, as well as learn a bit more about what exactly I do for a living.

Have you made anything fun lately? Share your DIYs, food, crafts, or anything Pinterest-inspired, for the linkup! (Please use good etiquette and link to my or Anne's post in yours and be sure to visit other pinspirations too.) 

//  Sharing on The Mix Summer Fashion linkup.  //

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

june budget

june budget
  1. J. Crew midi skirt in clip dot: $89.50, on sale for $69.50 + 40% off = $41.70
  2. J. Crew Factory embroidered tank: $39.50, on sale for $39.99 + 50% off = $19.75
  3. J. Crew metallic scoop-neck tee: $35 + 30% off = $24.50
  4. Banana Republic lace-trim top: $88.00, on sale for $68.99 + 50% off = $34.49
  5. Target Sorona sandal: $19.99, on sale for $15.99 + 30% off =  $11.19
  6. Loft linen-cotton sweater: $$49.50, on sale for $29.99 + 50% off = $14.99
June Budget: $146.62
Second quarter budget: $600 - $259.56 in April - $238.56 in May - $146.62 in June = $44.74 over

Another quarterly budget is in the books! I'm over again this quarter, but I'm not as over as the first quarter, so that's progress at least, right? But, I do love the purchases I've made over the past three months, they've already gotten lots of wear, and I know I'll be using them frequently in the months to come. Looking toward the next quarter, my goals are to stay in budget (surely I'll get it on the third try?) and to continue to invest in pieces that I'll be wearing this time next year. Looking back on last year's April, May and June budgets, I no longer wear more than third-quarters of those purchases, partly due to changes in clothing-size and partly because my style has evolved a bit. A great thing about keeping a long-term clothing budget is it makes you more aware of what goes in and out of your closet, and (hopefully) makes your more mindful of your purchases - because today's "oh, my gosh, go to have it" item just might end up next year's donate bag. As I'm learning from personal experience...

Anyway, on to the purchases. 

1. J. Crew midi skirt in clip dot (see how I wore it here and here)
Everything about this skirt makes me happy - the fun, punchy color, the texture and the pockets (I'm always a sucker for pockets). I also like that it's a color that I don't have as much of in my closet, but still coordinates well with what I do have. For reference, it's a 14.

2. J. Crew Factory embroidered tank
I've worn this top a few times, mainly on the weekend and haven't gotten a chance to photograph it. I originally discovered it while creating a spring work trip packing list, and liked it so much, I snagged it when it went on major sale. I think it runs large, and got it in a L (instead of my usual XL from J. Crew Factory).

3. J. Crew scoop-neck tee (see how I wore it here)
I really like this tee, but I'm slightly disappointed that it's not the color depicted online. I thought I was getting a deep blush top, but instead it's a soft beige/peachy color. Still a pretty top, just different than what I expected. It is my usual XL.

4. Banana Republic smocked-lace trim top (see a sneak peek of it here)
This top is a great basic, and it looks good with shorts and with pants. It's a L and still very roomy. As a heads up, it's dry clean only - care instructions that I opted not to follow - and as a consequence, I've gotten a few minor pills. Sometimes it is wise to follow directions. :)

5. Target Sorona sandal
Target has been having great sales on sandals, so I picked these up last week to add to my sandal-rotation. I've been eyeing them for months, so they are a happy edition to my closet. They fit true to size - these are 9s - and are pretty comfortable. The only thing I've noticed is after the first full-day's wear, they rubbed in-between my toes a bit, but that's going away the more I wore them. So there's a definite breaking-in period. 

Is a sweater practical in June in Florida? Probably not, but this one is very light-weight and I love the color and high-low hem. It's a L, and fits true to size for Loft.

Not included in the budget:
june budget extras I've been fascinated with Stella & Dot for awhile now, so I picked up a few things - the geo tile crossbody and the slim city clutch from Brianna and the rebel pendant from eBay (you can also find some great deals on these necklaces on Poshmark). I've been looking for a way to make a little extra income while my husband is back to school, and am contemplating selling Stella & Dot. But first, I wanted to get a good idea of the quality of their products. Honestly, I LOVE every last thing I've gotten and they have an amazing selection of truly unique items. I'm beyond happy with my purchases, even if I don't end up selling, they are worth it. I've been wearing the necklace like crazy (see it here and here) - it goes with everything - been using the clutch as a wallet (see it here), and the crossbody (see it here and here) is perfect for work and for weekends as a smaller diaper bag. The quality is spot-on, they're well-made, and I love all the fun extra details (like bright, fun bag linings).

So, that's a wrap for the second quarter budget. Look ahead, I just ordered these amazing rain boots - obsessed with the yellow bow - while they were on super sale on Amazon. I'm so hoping they fit my wider calves. And J. Crew was having a 50% off clearance sale last weekend, so a few of these things might end up in July's budget as well.

//   Sharing on Franish for Budgeting Bloggers.  //

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

floral kimono

The brick wall is back (well for today anyway)! I just know you missed it, right? For the newbies to this space, I used it as a background a ridiculous amount of times this fall/winter. I think this one remains one of my brick wall favorites from last fall. But the sun has shifted, putting this space in full sun except for early in the morning. It gets dark super early here in the winter, so that by the time I leave work it's completely black outside. Now that it stays lighter longer, I've been getting photos after work. And while I'm definitely enjoying the longer days, I'm more than over the humid heat. At least the change in lighting has forced me to find some different photo locations, because as easy as it is to snap photos by this wall, it gets monotonous.

I wore this outfit to work yesterday (loooove getting to wear jeans on a Monday, hooray for casual summer work days!) and out to dinner with my family last night. I really like wearing something like this as a transition from work to dinner outfit. I think this kimono would also look cute with a little black dress, so I might have to try that next. It's actually been sitting in my closet since October when I wore it to a friend's bachelorette party. Between not wearing my white jeans for ages and this kimono, I think it might be time to revisit my closet. :)

 Kimono: Target (similar)
Shirt: J. Crew (exact)
Jeans: American Eagle (current version)
Sandals: American Eagle (exact - on sale!)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Watch: Fossil (exact in rose gold)
Bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive similar)

//  Sharing on The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore.  //

Monday, June 27, 2016

another midi skirt post

red midi gray tee 5

I know I sound like a broken record, but midi skirts are my salvation this summer. They're cool and comfortable and the longer length means I can easily bend and more around without having to worry about revealing my drawers - 'cause no one wants to see that. That's actually want I ended up doing in this outfit, taking tons of impromptu photos for work and crawling around on the ground to get the right angle. It was probably a million degrees outside, humid, and miserable. But my husband took these photos at the end of the day and I don't look too ragged, so there's my testament to these skirts keeping you cool.

Is it just me, or does it seem like it's been warmer and drier than usual this year? Usually in this part of Florida we get an almost daily afternoon shower - which helps elevate the heat a bit - but nope, nada, nothing this year. I didn't realize I missed it, until I noticed it wasn't happening. So now I'm craving a good, all day soaker. Besides, my poor Hunter Boots need some love these days.

Anyway, enough of my random rambling, and back to talking about red midi skirts. This skirt has been popping in and out of stock in limited sizes, so I found several other fun options for you below. I think this skirt with a navy striped tee (see how I wore it with black striped tee) or  a navy and white polka dot tee would make a lovely polished look for the 4th of July! Hmmm...I might just have to do that! :)

red midi gray tee 4
Top: Target (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in limited sizes, see options below)
Sandals: Target (very similar - on sale!)
Necklace: old, not sure where it's from (pretty alernative)
Watch: Fossil (exact in rose gold)
Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact) and Loren Hope (exact)
Earrings: Loft (similar)

red midi gray tee 3 red midi gray tee 6 red midi gray tee 8 red midi gray tee 7  red midi gray tee 2 red midi gray tee 1

red midi skirt options:
red midi skirt options
Don't forget, this Thursday is the Pin to Present linkup! Any Pinterest-inspired projects, recipes, outfits, etc. are welcome. Many thanks to Anne for letting me co-host this month!

//  Sharing on Sincerely Jenna Marie for Hello Monday.  //

Sunday, June 26, 2016

thoughts and whatnots 6.27.16

my blue suede shoes:  one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

teal and polka dots:
  • On the blog: Teal and Polka Dot's is sporting a new, updated look! Also, love how these mason jar gift card holders turned out.
  • On Instagram: I accidentally gave my phone a saltwater bath last Sunday, so no Instagram photos this week. Majorly missing my phone, I feel so disconnected...
  • A look ahead: June's budget goes up this week and I'm super excited to co-host Anne's Pin to Present linkup this Thursday.!

favorite sales:

  • what I'm reading: I just finished up Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West, but I can't say I was all that impressed with it. Cute concept, I love a good women's lit book, but kinda predictable and a smidgen silly. Not terrible by any means, but not my favorite either. Suggestions on what to read next? 
  • what I'm watching: We started re-watching the Indiana Jones series last weekend and are currently on the second  move - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - not my favorite, but you've got to watch them in order, right? 
  • what I'm crushing on: I recently rediscovered this kimono tutorial on Pinterest and now I'm obsessed with finding the perfect fabric to try making one for myself. I'm leaning toward this teal, mustard, black and red peacock-inspired fabric, but I also found a heaver-weight, bold black and white print fabric at Hobby Lobby (unfortunately I couldn't find it online). Make both and have one for now and one for the fall? :)
  • what I'm looking forward to: my family, including my sister, brother-in-law and crew of nieces and nephews, came in town for the week yesterday! I always love getting to spend time with my family. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

pin to present: mason jar gift card holders

The kiddo recently moved into the two-year-old room at daycare, and I wanted to do a little something as a thank you for the teachers in her previous room. I so greatly appreciate those lovely ladies, how wonderful they've been with her, and for practically helping me raise my child so I can work and help support my family. My first stop was to check out Pinterest for a ton of adorable ideas and inspiration for the perfect gift.

mason jars pin to present
image source: Something Turquoise

While looking for ideas, I read that most teachers prefer a gift card so they can spend it on anything like as opposed to a chachki that will just collect dust. These diy mason jar gift card and candy holders from Something Turquoise where exactly what I was looking for! Cute, a little gift in itself, plus bonus points for anything that can store chocolate!

I pretty much followed the tutorial exactly, but bought my supplies from different places. The washi tape, quilted jelly jars, metal bows and gift tags are all from Hobby Lobby and the gift cards and sea salt dark chocolate are from Target. The string is just some leftover yarn I had in my stash, but this gold and white baker's twine would have matched perfectly. I added a festive self-adhesive metal gold bow on the top because I saw them while looking for gift tags and just couldn't resist.

I love how they turned out!

pin to present mason jars 1 pin to present mason jars 7 pin to present mason jars 6 pin to present mason jars 5 pin to present mason jars 4 pin to present mason jars 2 pin to present mason jars 3

Have you DIY'd or crafted anything fun lately? I'm excited to announce I am co-hosting the Pin to Present Linkup with Anne next Thursday! Any Pinterest-inspired projects, recipes, outfits, etc. are welcome. I'm sharing my attempts at making my first pinspired dress - can't wait to see what you have to share. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

midi skirts and mini lifts

polka dot midi and breton tee 3

Teal and Polka Dots is looking a bit different these days! After a little over a year of (consistent) blogging, it was time for a little mini lift. I opted not to pay for someone to do a redesign, so I'm slowing designing/updating things myself. If you stopped by yesterday or earlier today, you might have noticed things jumping and changing all over the place. :) I've just about gotten everything where I want it, but please be patient with me as I continue to tweak and refine. Suggestions on how to make this space better are greatly appreciated. Let me know the comments below!

Overall, I'm so, so happy with the new look. It's a bit cleaner, a smidgen more modern, and just feels a more like me and a better representation of this space. I hope you like it as much as I do!

What's not different? My continued love affair with midi skirts. These babies have been invaluable during the summer months - so cool and comfortable and perfect for the office - I'm obsessed. I've been wearing this exact outfit on major repeat lately, and actually had to do a blog post search to make sure I hadn't posted similar photos already - I've worn it that often. I just love the mix of stripes and dots and it's so darn comfortable, I'm sure I'll still be repeating it over...and over...and over... in the future.

polka dot midi and breton tee 4
 Top: Boden (exact)
Skirt: J. Crew (pretty solid navy option)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (exact) and Kreatons (cute alternative)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive option)

polka dot midi and breton tee 6 polka dot midi and breton tee 5 polka dot midi and breton tee 1 polka dot midi and breton tee 2 polka dot midi and breton tee 7

// Sharing on A Pocketful of Polka Dots for Fabulous Friday. //

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

blue suede shoes

There's just something about these cobalt shoes that makes a girl feel fancy - especially when combined with a crisp pair of white pants and a pretty straw clutch. I wore this outfit a few weeks ago in preparation for the graphic tee edition of Mom Style Remix, but I loved the outfit so much I thought it was worth it's own post. (Though I hope you aren't getting sick of these white jeans, I know I've been wearing them like crazy lately!)

I hope everyone had a great Father's Day. We spent part of the day in Destin doing a little window shopping and eating delicious burgers at McGuire's. After the heat of the day, we went to the beach - which Little Bit loved, we had to drag her out of the water - she's a little beach baby for sure! That evening we watched "Indiana Jones," one of my husband's all-time favorite movies, and made s'mores.

The only downside is that I accidentally gave my phone a saltwater bath and now it's pretty much fried. I didn't realize how much I depended on my phone until I didn't have it anymore! Of course it happened two days out of warranty and a year away from an upgrade. Does anyone have suggestions about where to get a replacement phone, other than eBay, that doesn't cost a ridiculous ton of money? Guess that'll teach me not to try to capture the memories in the ocean.

Cardigan: J. Crew (exact)
Tee: Out of Print (exact, cute floral option)
Jeans: American Eagle (current version)
Shoes: Madewell (exact in other colors, fun alternative)
Clutch: Stella & Dot (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Watch: Fossil (exact style with a different face)
Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact) and J. Crew Factory (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)

// Sharing on Hello Monday. //

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thoughts and Whatnots 6.19.16

Pink pants:  one  |  two  |  three

Blog Love:

On Teal and Polka Dots:

Favorite Sales:

  • What I'm reading: I decided to try "Gone with a Handsomer Man" by Michael Lee West after reading her writing style is similar to Janet Evanovich. I haven't gotten too far into it, but so far it's okay, but I'm not 100% sold on it. We'll see...
  • What I'm watching: Somehow I stumbled onto the "Irish People Try" series on YouTube - so funny! So far I think the southern foods and unusual cupcakes are my favorites.
  • What I'm crushing on: Pom pom/tassel everything! This little pom pom embellished straw clutch is so cute, and this (expensive - but so amazing) embroidered blue ivory kimono would be perfect for casual Saturdays and I'm convinced these striped pom pom curtains would look fantastic in my living room!
  • What I'm looking forward to: Today's Father's Day adventures! Inspired by Cait, I've come up with a "Let's Be Kids Again" day adventure including lots of Matt's favorite childhood things (beach, biking, food, etc.) Happy Father's Day to all the dads! :)