Friday, March 31, 2017

march budget

march budget
March budget: $219.87
first quarter budget: $600 - $234.09 in January - $186.55 in February + $43.95 in clothing sales - $219.87 in March = $596.56
$3.44 under for the first quarter

I don't know about you guys, but the end of March just snuck up on me! So, since it's the last day of the month, I give you my March finds. Looking back at my budget posts, I often unintentionally have a color theme for the month or all my purchases go together, and this month is no exception with blush, neutrals and pops of navy.

My favorite purchase of the month is this off-white dotted midi skirt from J. Crew. It's going to be a lot of fun to style this summer and is nice and lightweight, perfect for the hot Florida days ahead. For reference, it's a 16 and it fits true to size.

I was apparently feeling the light and flowing with this floral print blouse and lace peplum top (see how I wore it here) from Target. Both are an XXL and the floral print has lots of extra fabric, but the peplum fits more true to size. Keeping with the relaxed style, I also snagged this pretty navy lace embroidered kimono from PinkBlush (see how I wore it here). While it's from the maternity section, it fits like a regular kimono, not maternity. Mine's a 1X and if you're interested, there's 15% off today with code YESPLEASE.

The long blush cardigan (see how I wore it here) was a replacement for a similar, lighter pink but very worn out cardigan. It's an 1X, and a little thicker than I was expecting, so I might not get much use of of it this spring/summer, but it'll still get lots of use in the cooler months.

Last but not least, is the tri-tone Fossil watch I got for a steal from I love that it goes with all the metals - rose gold, silver and gold - and is a little daintier than my beloved gold Fossil I wear almost constantly. One day I'd LOVE to have something like this Michael Kors watch, but the price point for the Fossil was too good to pass up and it's a lovely watch at a decent price point. :)

How did you do this month? Let me know in the comments below.

//  Sharing with Budgeting Bloggers.  //

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

then & now: black maxi dress

I thought it would be fun to show the first time I wore this black maxi dress on the blog back in 2015 compared to how I styled it today. In past comparison photos, usually I overwhelmingly like one look over the other, but this time around I think it's a tie. I mean, hello lovely leopard clutch! But what was I thinking with those flip flops? With a shoe switch, it's still a look I'd happy rock today. :)

As for my most recent look, it was simple, comfy and polished enough to wear to work. Thank goodness for an office that's more on the casual side of business casual! Some days a girl just needs to wear a dress that feels like pajamas and a soft sweater.

dress: J. Crew Factory (similar)  |  cardigan: J. Crew (similar) last worn here  |   sandals: Target (similar)  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl, similar aqua)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)

//  Sharing on What I Wore.  //

Monday, March 27, 2017

monday musings: week 12

Welcome to Monday Musings. Each Monday I share a different "get to know me" style Q&A. I invite you to join in so I can get to know you as well!

Q: What are 10 small things that make you happy?

A: It's hard to just pick 10, but here's a few of my favorite things:
  1. big toddler hugs - seriously the best
  2. staring a new book
  3. a fresh bouquet of flowers
  4. getting a package in the mail
  5. hot chocolate with mini mashmallows
  6. sleeping in
  7. holding my husband's hand
  8. HOT showers
  9. checking things off my to-do list
  10. beach sunsets
It's your turn, what are a few small things that make you happy? Let me know in the comments below. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

thoughts and whatnots 3.26.17

strappy sandal weather:  one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:

favorite sales:

  • what I'm reading: I just finished "My (not so) Perfect Life" by Sophie Kinsella and it was so, so good. It's a novel about obsession with having the perfect life - or at least showing the perfect version of our lives - and learning how to embrace life as it really it, flaws and all. It's part love story, part workplace drama and all around wonderful. I highly recommend!
  • what I'm watching: I just watched Illumination's latest animated movie "Sing" - for the kiddo of course - but I ended up really, really liking it. 
  • what I'm listening to: a friend and I went see the Avett Brothers in concert last night, and it was awesome. The weather was perfect for an outdoor concert, and the Avett Brother gave a great live performance.  
  • what I'm crushing on: I'm kinda of obsessed with the idea of a pretty pink blazer at the moment with my favorites being this knit blush two button blazer, this adorable pink gingham blazer and J. Crew Factory's linen-cotton schoolboy blazer in seaside coral
  • what I'm looking forward to: being done with packing! We sure have amassed a ton of stuff in eight years and it's taking forever to sort through it, pack or donate it. Whew!

Friday, March 24, 2017

home tour: living room

I'm excited to show off my favorite room in our home - the living room. It's evolved a lot in the last eight years. Picture builder's grade white walls, beige carpet and a gold velour sofa and you have a pretty good idea of what this space looked like.

The living room circa March 2008.

photo by: Christina Shults Photography

floors: Dynamic X  |  sofa: Laura Ashley (very similar)  |  bar stools: Target (exact)  |  mirrored bookcase: World Market (similar)  |  Audrey painting: painted by my husband (similar)  |  rattan cubes: Ikea (exact)  |  ceiling fan: Lowes (exact)  |  wooden storage bin: Target (exact)  |  curtains: Walmart (similar)  |  rug: Ikea (similar)  |  ottoman: World Market (exact)  |  peony arrangement: Target (exact)

The floors are probably my favorite thing about this room (followed by the amazing aqua walls). Replacing the floor was more of an accident, than a desire to upgrade. The day before the kiddo's first birthday party, my husband knocked over a lit candle directly in the middle of the floor creating a huge singed black hole in the carpet. Not attractive. Thankfully, we found this gorgeous laminate flooring, which was originally intended for a retail space but the buyer decided it was too light, at cost. I think it turned out perfectly in our beachy home. My husband installed it all himself - a definite benefit to being married to a handyman. :) And I love the how it really upgraded the space. 

My husband painted me this lovely Audrey Hepburn painting as a present for our first Christmas together. 

Random side story: I originally wanted the living room to be green and went through at least 10 different green paint samples before throwing in the towel and painting the walls Bher Embellished Blue. I didn't even get a sample, just bought two gallons of aqua and went it with. I think it was a good decision, since I can't even imagine the space green now.

Audrey painting: painted by my husband (similar) |  silver velvet pillow: Pier 1 (exact)  |  striped pillow: H&M (exact)  |  diamond pattern pillow: H&M (exact)  |  throw: JoAnn's (similar)  |  peony arrangement: Target (exact)

I took these black and white architectural photos in St. Augustine during my honeymoon. The top print is of the staircase inside the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the I believe the second is of a stained glass window inside Flagler College.  The matted frames are from Walmart, so it was a cheap and easy DIY!

chair: Pier 1 (cute alternative)  |  pillow: H&M (exact)

This cute little chair lives next to the TV/entertainment center. It's perfect for when we have company a need an extra seat.

The most recent home living room editions are the plethora of pillows, gorgeous teal ottoman and peony centerpiece. The little frog is an Avon antique perfume bottle from the 1970s and I like the way he looks next to the pretty flowers and an aqua candle. The silver tray is old - I actually forgot I had it until we put a bunch of stuff in storage - but it works perfectly to hold a few knickknacks or drinks.

photo by: Christina Shults Photography

via Instagram

Looking for more home tours? Check out the curb appeal edition of the home tour here and tune in next Friday for a tour of the kitchen and bathrooms. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

lace peplum top

Not exactly one of my most inspired outfits. But it was comfy - I mean, how could it not be with sandals, stretchy pants and a flowy pelpum top perfect for disguising food babies? And after a humongous Mexican lunch, there was plenty of food baby pooches to go around.

Though I wore this outfit to work, it's definitely on the casual side of business casual. To dress it up, I'd swap the cardigan for a blazer - maybe my seersucker which J. Crew Factory has again this year! - and my sandals for my beloved bow flats. Easy peasy. that I've planned it out in my head, I think I'll have to try out in real-life in the near future!

Speaking of sandals, I'm kind of excited sandal weather is back. As much as I love my scarves, cardigan and layers, I equally love bare toes. If I could figure out a way to go barefoot all the time I'd do it. Too bad that's not quite work appropriate. :)

top: Target (exact)  |  pants: J. Crew (exact)  last worn here  |  cardigan: Loft (similar)  |  sandals: Loft (almost exact) last worn here  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact three pearl, exact six pearl)  |  earrings: Stella & Dot (similar)

// Sharing on What I Wore. //

Monday, March 20, 2017

monday musings: week 10 & 11

Welcome to Monday Musings. Each Monday I share a different "get to know me" style Q&A. I invite you to join in the comments below so I can get to know you as well!

Q1: In honor of the first day of spring, what is your favorite spring activity/tradition?

A1: It's not really an activity or tradition, but one of my favorite things about spring is flipflop/sandal weather. I love my winter layers - give me all the scarves, jackets and sweaters - but free toes come in as a close second.

Q2: What was one of your favorite family vacations?

A2: Growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, vacations in Gatlinburg were a pretty common thing. As in, we went so many times growing up that it lost it's excitement/allure. But then I moved away, and before you know it, it had been 10+ years without a visit. So, October two years ago my parents, sister, brother and our families decided to go on a family trip to the Smoky Mountains. We had so much fun, we decided to make a tradition out of it. We went again last October and did a bunch of touristy things - including Dollywood, the chairlift and went trick-or-treating through downtown Gatlinburg. I'm already looking forward to this year's trip, especially since it's the only time this Florida girl gets to experience fall. Hello fall leaves and pumpkin-flavored everything! Is it sad that I'm jonesing for fall in March? Oh, well...

It's your turn. What's your favorite thing about spring and what was one of your favorite family vacations? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

kelly green puffer

when: Tuesday  |  where:  work  |  weather: 53 and overcast

Mother nature decided to throw us a curve ball last week with some of the coldest weather we've had all winter. Though technically I suppose it's spring now, right? Either way, the cooler temps gave me a chance to wear this fun kelly green puffer vest just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Though to be honest, I felt kind of wrong to wear riding boots in March. Though the high was in the 50s, most of the day hoovered in the 40s, which in my neck of the woods is COLD. Anything below 60s (and for some folks 70s means it's time to break out the winter clothes). Ridiculous, but that's how we roll in Florida. I was feeling a bit overdressed in my boots and layers until I went to pick up my daughter from daycare, and another mom had on a wool pea coat and thick wooly scarf. So I guess I'm doing alright...

puffer vest: J. Crew (exact in other colors)  |  shirt: Target (similar)  |  pants: Loft (similar) last worn here  |  scarf: Ann Taylor (cute alternative)  |  boots: Arturo Chiang (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (exact)  |  earrings: Kate Spade (exact)

While I don't wear a lot of green, I did find a few green outfits in honor of St. Paddy's Day (#3's my favorite):

one  |  two  |  three

It's one of the busiest work weeks of the year, so I'm pushing back the next installment of my home tour until next Friday. I apologize for the delay!

// Sharing on Fabulous Friday. //

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

lace trim kimono

when: last Friday  |  where: work  |  weather: 60 and sunny

I want to say a great big thank you to everyone who commented and sent words of encouragement related to my Pinterest woes. Your support really means the world to me. After taking a day to think about things, I've decided I don't want to stop blogging, but I do want to take some precautions in the future about what kind of information I share on here. I did speak to a local police officer who handles cyber crime and he suggested I no longer show my face in my photos, but I hesitate to do that because I think I'd lose an importance sense of connection. From my experience, I feel like I know people in the blogs that I read. I celebrate their triumphs and mourn their setbacks. Even though I don't really know them, I feel like I do because I read about their daily lives. I see them, I see pictures of their lives and their families. I see their face. I feel like hiding myself like that and filtering too much will ruin that. I've been blogging for more than two years, my face is everywhere if you look for it. Is there really a point to hiding it now?

But, on to the outfit. 

Most of the time I'm a pretty conservative/borderline preppy dresser - think blazers, lots of cardigans and fancy flats, but sometimes the lure of the bohemian calls to me, like with this gorgeous lace trim navy kimono from Pink Blush.  I love the soft flow and drape and the lace really adds a fun - and pretty element - to the piece. I think it's going to be a good transition piece from spring to summer. If navy's not your color, it also comes in several lovely shades - including a soft peach that I'm drooling over and my favorite signature teal color. This is actually a maternity top, but I don't get a maternity vibe from it at all, it fits just like a normal kimono. For reference, mine's a 1X. 

To finish off the look, I added a white tee (though a cream/wheat color top would also look great), skinny jeans and booties. As I mentioned last week, we've been having a few gloriously cool days, but I've been trying to take every opportunity to wear my boots before it's full-on sandal weather. 

kimono: PinkBlush (exact, exact plus)  |  shirt: Target (similar) last worn here  |  jeans: Loft (similar)  |   boots: Vince Camuto (exact) last worn here  |  necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)  |  watch: Fossil (similar)  |  bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact three pearl, exact six pearl)  |  earrings: Stella and Dot (similar)

As a side note, as you may have noticed something it going on with my photos links through Photobucket as they are currently not showing up on my blog. Are any of you bloggers using blogger running into this issue? I've been so frustrated with Photobucket lately, I'm seriously considering switching to a different photo hosting site. I know some folks use Flickr, any other suggestions? 

//  Sharing on What I Wore.  //

Monday, March 13, 2017


I hope you'll forgive me, but today I'm taking a break from Monday Musings - don't worry it will be back next week - to have a bit of a rant. You see, I'm mad, disgusted and sickened and I want to share my story as a a warning for those of you who put yourself out there in the blogging world and social media. When I first decided to start blogging I prepared myself for the trolls, people who might say mean or hurtful things, but thankfully I've never really run into that the whole time I've been on this space. What I hadn't prepared myself for was for my images to be used on Pinterest in conjunction with pornography.

That's right, some sicko has pinned all the images from my blog where I'm wearing my rain boots and put them on a board featuring plus-size naked woman in lewd positions. Just mine, no other regular fully clothed women in rain boots. Just the naked images and me. Needless to say, I'm completely freaked. On another board I'm featured with sexualized women in rain boots and then my innocent images as well. Everything is dirty and sexual, with the exception of my pins.

I've reported and blocked this person, but the question I keep asking myself is why? I have a small blog with a small group of readers, what about me attracted the attention of a pervert? I dress modestly, I try to stay above board on this space, but it still happened to me. I'm angry at this person for taking something that I've created and making it dirty, I'm angry at myself for putting myself and my family at risk - though I never in a million years thought that something like this would happen.

I've mentioned my daughter's name on this blog, I've pretty much given a road map to where I live, a little googling would make it easy to find me. And as much as I'm pissed at this person, I'm just as angry at myself for making myself into a target. I'm erasing all mentions of my daughter's name on this blog and I'm not certain I will ever refer to her again on this space. I've removed my location, what I do for a living, etc. Though it's kind of like trying to put the horse back into the barn - too little too late, though I'm not sure what else to do.

Have any of you bloggers out there run into this situation? Maybe I'm overreacting, but right now I'm feeling a big dose of fear, a lot of angry and a prevailing sickness to my stomach. I pray that none of you run into my situation and caution you to protect yourself, as much possible these days online.

As much as a love my Hunters, I'm not sure I'm ever going to be comfortable posting them on here again. And that makes me mad too. People can be sick - this I know - but I want to do everything possible to protect myself and my family. I don't know the person who did this, it could be anyone. Maybe it's just a dirty fetish, maybe it's more. But I'm questioning if for the protection of myself and my family if I need to step away from blogging. Maybe not posting pictures of rain boots if enough, maybe block and reporting the person will stop it, but you don't know about people I worry it's too late?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

thoughts and whatnots 3.12.17

stripe dresses, cardis and boots:  one  |  two  |  three

blog love:

on teal and polka dots:
  • on the blog: Ever want to know what the place the I call home looks like? Check out the first installment of my home tour mini series. Also, I'm not always great about getting outfit photos, so you can see a few of my recent Instagram looks here
  • on instagram: Busting out an oldie, but a goodie, embroidered top for our spring-like Florida weather!
  • on pinterest: Has anyone attempted to spray paint their doorknobs? I'm tempted to try this pin to see if we can give the worn out knobs in our new home new life without having to fork out $$ for brand new ones...
  • coming up: A few outfit posts for sure and Friday will feature the living room edition of my mini house tour (spoiler alert: it's my favorite room).

favorite sales:

  • what I'm watching: Still watching reruns of The Office on Netflix and occasionally mixing it up with a Bob Ross or two. We did watch Moana this week, and while I I liked it, I really did, I wasn't really one of my favorite Disney animated movies. Maybe I need to give it another chance? 
  • what I'm crushing on: All the free-flowing, feminine tops from Target's Knox Rose line. I recently picked up this floral v-neck sleeveless blouse and this cream lace scallop hem blouse, but I'd love to add this black short sleeve lace yoke top and this gorgeous coral 3/4 sleeve blouse to my closet
  • what I'm looking forward to: It's Spring Break in north Florida and my current neighborhood allows short-term rentals, so it's been eight springs of loud music, scooters buzzing through the neighborhood and all other kinds of shenanigans. I'm kinda of excited that this is last time we'll have to deal with all that since our new neighborhood doesn't allow short-term rentals which means no Spring Breakers! I have no problem with the kids who come down here, I'm just not a fan of the noise at 3 a.m. that consistently wakes up our toddler. What can I say, momma likes her sleep. :)