Fashion & Beauty

Casual Tee + Cardigan

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Chunky Gray Cardigan similar here / Oversized Tee / Levi’s Super Skinny Jeans in Mid Roast / Tommy Hilfiger T-Strap Sandals similar here / Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here / Sterling Earrings similar here

Busy days call for casual – and I’ve had a ton of those lately. But casual doesn’t have to mean sloppy and dressy casual doesn’t have to mean jeans and heels. This is one of my favorite outfits to run errands in – comfy without sacrificing style.

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MID ROAST oversize tee cardigan sandals BLACK SATCHEL il_fullxfull.1219795509_r8xn

Fashion & Beauty

Black Bodycon + Stripes

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Tom’s Ware 3/4 Sleeve Bodycon / Striped Pointed Toe Heel similar here / Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here / Black and White Studs similar here

You can never have too many little black dresses. This basic dress is my go to dress when I feel like nothing else is matching my mood – it’s easy to dress up or down and you can wear it anywhere. If black isn’t your thing this dress comes in five other colors. One thing worth mentioning is that I’m wearing the XS – S small size and I do feel like it’s slightly large on me, especially through my waist (you can see it bunching in some of the pictures). I do have plans to have it taken in a bit.

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toms ware 3 striped heels s-l1600 BLACK SATCHEL

Misc

Eat Well + Stay Thin

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Before I lose you, this is not your typical “eat this, not that” post – this is a realistic, manageable way to eat what you want and lose weight (or maintain). I know because this is exactly how I lost 30 pounds.

Eat what you want.
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Cute. If that quote is floating around your mind, lure it out with peanut butter, catch it and set it on fire. Twice. I hate when people say “you shouldn’t be eating that”. Says who? Why limit yourself to five bland, monotonous meals to repeat for the rest of your life. Eat what satisfies (notice I didn’t say what fills you to bursting) you, not what someone else tells you is good for you.

Now pull it back a bit.
Didn’t I just say you could eat what you want? Yes, I did and yes, you can. In moderation. Unless you have an incredible metabolism, don’t expect to eat gobs of doughnuts every morning, massive burgers for lunch, mountains of pasta for dinner and polish it all off with dessert every single night. You have to exercise some sort of control. That being said, I have had days where my meals went: doughnut, burger, pizza, ice cream and I still came in at my calorie limit. You can have it all, but be mindful of how much.

For reference:
Krispy Kreme Original Doughnut & Coffee= 310 cal
McDouble = 390 cal
Domino’s Large Pepperoni Slice = 300 cal
1/2 cup Chocolate Ice Cream w/ Cone = 130 cal

That’s only 1130 calories. You’d have 70 calories left for a snack if you’re on a 1200 calorie diet – 370 calories left if you’re on a 1500 calorie diet.

Satisfaction.
The easiest tip to follow that cuts loads of calories is stop eating when you’re no longer hungry or you feel satisfied. Notice I didn’t say, “stop eating when you’re full”. It takes your body 15 to 20 minutes to send fullness signals to your brain, so if you’re still eating when you start to feel full you’ll actually end up feeling uncomfortably stuffed.

Compensation.
Didn’t do so hot for a meal? Swap out a later meal for a super healthy option or (here comes the backlash, but hear me out) skip your next meal. I recently went out to a later breakfast on Father’s Day and overdid it. I ate so much I was not hungry when lunch time came, instead I had an afternoon snack and ate a regular dinner. Another option is to add in some additional exercise. Compensation is not ordering a large Triple Whopper Meal and opting for a Diet Coke. Jus’ sayin.

Eat cupcakes for breakfast.
Growing up my dad always got on us about eating leftover pizza for breakfast saying, “that’s not breakfast food”. So what determines what you can eat for what meal? You do. You want that cupcake for breakfast? Have it. Want a fudge sundae instead of dinner? Fudge it up. In my opinion, it is far better to eat what you’re craving than to eat a well rounded meal and then go back and eat it anyway.

Add fruits and veggies.
I’ll be honest. No, my diet isn’t every nutritionists’ dream diet. I’d go as far to say I’ve probably horrified some of them off this site. “She’s destroying her body!” Tell that to the 30 pounds. In all seriousness, because my main food choices aren’t always low calorie I add in loads of fruits and veggies to help bulk out my meals and stay full.

Aim for healthier choices.
Just because you can eat pizza and burgers all the time and still lose or maintain, doesn’t mean you should. Lean protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies are good for you and they don’t have to taste boring. My not so healthy days tend to be my busiest days – sometimes I don’t even have ten minutes to prep and eat a meal and I don’t beat myself up for it. Start small and build up your smart food choices until your diet is about 80% “clean”.

Meal prep.
Have a busy week coming up? Whittle out an hour or so to prep some healthy meals and snacks. My husband and I like to cook up bulk chicken on the grill so we have some all week for lunches and dinners when we’re too busy or tired to cook. I currently own these divided containers. Unlike other bento style boxes, all the compartments can be removed from the main container if you need to microwave one section without microwaving the whole box. They also sell two different snack boxes in the same style – a two compartment and a four compartment, which are perfect for items like carrots and hummus or apples and peanut butter!

Cut yourself some slack.
I do this in two ways. One: I allow myself to have treat items on a daily basis so long as they fit into my calories. Two: Cheat day. One day a week I don’t watch what I eat at all and allow myself whatever I want. My entire family knows I do this and my mom often asks me when she sees me loading my plate up, “cheat day?”.

Did I miss something? What are your tips?

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Misc

Smithville Travel Guide + Jamboree

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“First I Drink the Coffee” Tee similar here / Levi’s 501 Shorts in Roadside Blues / Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here / Tommy Hilfiger T Strap Sandals similar here / Circus by Sam Edelman Gray Sunglasses similar here

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Loose Maxi Dress / Lace Up Gladiator Sandals similar here / Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here / Circus by Sam Edelman Gray Sunglasses similar here

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Tee Dress similar here (this was a Goodwill find for $3!) / Tommy Hilfiger T Strap Sandals similar here / Christian Siriano Cassie Satchel / Oversized Black Sunglasses

We’ve spent the past five days in and around Smithville, Tennessee. Two things that stood out to me immediately are 1) the weather is insane and 2) the ladies of Tennessee are some incredibly stylish ladies!

We were disappointed that every time we managed to get to the Jamboree, we were rained out. It would be bright blue skies one minute and the next we’d turn around to a black wall creeping up behind the steeple. We did, however, see some amazing places, hear some incredible music and eat some delicious food!

Jamboree

The food, the crafters, the music. Incredible. I have never seen so many talented people in one place in my life. The rain made it difficult, if not impossible, for us to stay as long as we wanted, but that’s Tennessee (or so I hear).

The three vendors that are sticking out in my mind (one of them will forever – he’s just that kind of guy!) are Rotten Roger, Dave Washburn and there was a lady selling the most beautiful broken china pendants but she packed up before I could grab her business card.

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Rotten Roger is quite the character! He is the most charming and talented musician I have ever come across and the only vendor at the Jamboree that really seemed to attract all kinds of people from all walks of life. He makes cigar box and bedpan (yes, really and they’re called Stratocrappers!) guitars. We loved them so much, my husband bought one and is just tickled to death to learn how to play it.

Dave Washburn. This guy is an incredible artist! My  husband and I have started collecting caricatures of the two of us anywhere we can and I have plans to create a caricature wall as an art installment in our house. The thing we love most about caricatures are that every one is different because all the artists have different styles and visions of what they want you to look like. Our current favorites are the one from the Jamboree and the one from my husbands’ cousins’ wedding who made us into merpeople!

My third and final favorite was a lady who makes the most beautiful pendants from old china plates. I looked through them all twice and went back the third time to see about buying one and to get her card and she had vanished. I suppose the weather got to her and she left early. Lesson learned – always get the business card before you walk away. Her jewelry was similar to this.

Congrats to all the winners! You all are so talented!

 Places

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Rock Island State Park
The first day of the festival was incredibly hot – we ended up bailing about 1pm to cool off in the lake. I’m not sure if it was because we were there on a weekday or that its’ a bit out of the way, but we were one of three or four groups of people at the beach. There is a two tier picnic pavilion, the beach was pretty clean and the lake was perfect for swimming. There is a hike down to the falls but we weren’t prepared for that and opted to skip it.

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Edgar Evins State Park
This park was also pretty unpopulated. We did a short half mile hike and bummed around the day use peninsula at the upper end of the park, watching the boats and geese float on by. The park seemed more popular for boating and fishing than anything else, but a nice stop to escape the bustle.

Food

We ate at a bunch of really different places all through Smithville, Cookeville and McMinnville, so I’ll only share my favorites here.

Collins River BBQ & Cafe in McMinnville
Oh. My. Word. I will readily admit I was so surprised at this little restaurant. I ordered the Brisket Wrap- (brisket, beans, lettuce, tomato, BBQ sauce in a jalapeno cheddar tortilla) it was to die for! If you are in the area, I highly recommend slipping in to try it out.

Blue Coast Burrito in Cookeville
This super popular restaurant is similar to Chipotle. Pick your item, pick your meat and fixins and bam, fantastic lunch. There was a constant flow of people through the restaurant while we were eating lunch, so you know it’s good!

Hibachi4Hire (vendor at the Jamboree, based out of Antioch)
Both my husband and I ate here at the Jamboree. I have to admit I wasn’t feeling it because I really did not want hot food when I was already hot, but when they handed my husband his order and I took a bite – I immediately got back in line and got my own. It was all hibachi rice – vegetable, shrimp, steak, chicken. Slightly pricey, but well worth it in flavor and portion!

Cheddar’s in Cookeville
Yes, I know it’s a chain, but we don’t have one where we live. As a matter of fact, the closest one to us is a two hour drive one way. We loved it so much in Tennessee that on our way back home, we stopped at a different Cheddar’s for lunch and everything was just as amazing.

Thinking about going to Smithville next year for the jamboree? I highly recommend it!

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COFFEE TEE roadside blues sandals BLACK SATCHEL sunglasses

                        LOOSE MAXI DRESS GLADIATORS TSHIRT DRESS OVERSIZE BLACK GLASSES 167043_4_1400x1400

Fashion & Beauty

Pin-Up Inspired 4th Outfit

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Navy Blue Striped Tee / High Waist Denim Shorts / White Pointed Toe Heels similar here / Christian Siriano Lianna Tote / Red Stud Earrings

I do not wear a whole lot of color – I prefer sticking to my grays, blacks and whites with the occasional olive or wine red item in my closet. Holidays are the few times a year where all bets are off and I sport the colors. Muted, muffled colors, but colors.

I really love this outfit for the 4th because it’s festive, sexy but casual and it has a slight retro feel to it. The pieces can also be easily swapped out to create a few different 4th looks; swap the heels for  sandals for a more casual look or swap the denim shorts for white and go more nautical.

A word of caution for the shorts. I ordered the small and the medium to find my best fit and I was not 100% happy with the fit on either but went with the medium. The small fit my butt and my waist, but was so short through the torso they weren’t really high waist anymore and the cuffs cut into my thighs. The medium however, fit really nice around my thighs and they definitely qualified for high rise but the waist is way too big (which is okay for this outfit because the shirt isn’t super tight) and there is a bit too much fabric through my lower abs. I will definitely have these altered in the near future.

We’re headed out for fireworks (and maybe possibly ice cream if I can convince my husband). What are your plans for the 4th?

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navy striped shirt high waist shorts white heels white tote red studs

Tips & Tricks

What’s In My Bag?

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Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here

My kitty, of course! (He decided he needed to be in every picture – behind the bag, beside the bag, on the bag!) 😀

Carrying a purse with me everyday is a recent thing. In high school everything was in my bookbag and I never felt the need for one. Lately, however, I’ve found myself carrying more things around and purses are for…..carrying things around! Go figure. I don’t think I carry around a load of unnecessary items like some women do, but I am well stocked – and more armed than most people think. Here’s the breakdown:

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(don’t those nail clippers look like they’re smiling?!)

mints, gum or hard candy
mints & gum for breath, candy because sometimes I just like to taste something 🙂

phone
here is the phone case I use

travel makeup kit
very basic items such as my manicure kit, compact ($0.50 at a thrift shop!), vaseline, lint roller & touch up items

feminine bag
a variety of tampons, liners, pads & wipes – you never know when someone may need one!

first aid kit
again, very basic items such as band-aids, headache medication, etc.

wallet
I just ordered this wallet to replace my broken one and I love it! (I even took the wristlet off it and use it for my keys now!)

small composition book
picked up one at Target for $1.99 and use it to write down important dates, lists, etc.

weekly planner & colored pens
this is a new one for me as I have a load of things to remember in a week and I’ve started to lose track of where I need to be when; here’s the planner purchased and the pens I use to color code everything

armory self-defense
stun gun that my father decided my sister and I needed while we were on vacation
one of the pepper sprays that my stepfather gave me for Christmas last year
a whistle (I actually bought these to help train our kitten but he could care less)
a pocket knife my stepfather gave me two Christmases(?) ago – this is not actually in my purse but tucked into my car

and I’m sure I’ll accumulate more given the past trends 😀

Right now all my little “kit” bags are in mismatched bags that I’ve picked up over the years, but I have plans to purchase these matching bags to store them in.

Now that I’ve shared, what’s in your purse?

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BLACK SATCHELphone case cosmetic bags mainure set wallet minimalist planner pens