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1/30/18

Spring Shoe Crushes + 2018 Goals

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{Click on any of the numbers above for details or to shop!} 

Hi, Everyone!

First, I just want to apologize for being MIA on the blog recently; I've been buried under a multitude of projects that have been keeping me busier than usual (and that's saying something because I am always busy.) Some of have been downright draining, while others have been extremely positive, encouraging and absolutely necessary. I'll get into more of that in a bit, but first, let's take a moment to drool over all of these amazing shoe finds! 

I'm having a serious case of Spring fever, can you tell? Spring is my all-time favorite season, with Summer being a close second, especially when it comes to fashion. All of my favorite light and airy dresses make their reappearance, along with my favorite pastel-hued and floral-embellished accessories and shoes. Since it's #tuesdayshoesday, of course I'm placing the spotlight on all the pretty shoes. Bows, scallops, pearls, and tassels -- all the pretty, little details I can't get enough of are rounded up for you in one place! Better yet, most of these are $70 or under! Only a few are a bit of splurge, but high-quality shoes that you know will last you years to come are worth it, if your budget allows for it.

I'm sneaking in a few more pairs in the widget below, including these mules I just picked up!

Spring Shoe Crushes


2018 Goals/Life Update

Going into the new year, I had a few, simple goals that I knew I wanted to achieve. I'm breaking them down quickly for those of you who may be interested.

1.) Better Work/Life Balance
 This is a tough one for me because I've become a master multi-tasker. Unfortunately, for perfectionists like me, it comes at a price. I end up staying up far too late at night justifying that it's "only a few more minutes" (either working on the computer or doing last-minute housework like laundry) which leads to hours, and then when I do sleep, it's often broken sleep because the kids will wake up needing something. Chronic lack of sleep adds up and starts to impact my mood, eating habits, and even my ability to focus or remember things. It's one big snowball effect, and I'm sure many of you can relate! So, this year, I'm focusing on tackling the large projects first and not pushing myself to the extremes to get every single thing done on my to-do list. This is forcing me to re-prioritize my projects and "unplug" in the evenings when dinner and family time are so important.


2.) More Sleep
 This goes hand-in-hand with the first goal. I need more sleep. Period. I've really noticed a difference in my health over the past year, and one of the culprits is lack of sleep. Without sleep, the immune system is more susceptible to attack; there's case-loads of evidence that show the critical role that sleep plays in our overall well-being. So, for me, this means forcing myself to unwind and relax in the evenings to prepare for an earlier bed time. This also means putting down my cell phone and restricting myself from checking email or going on Instagram/social media, especially with my tendency to get sucked into it for hours!

3.) More Exercise/Healthier Lifestyle
This includes a couple of things: more daily exercise and better eating habits. I'm horrible at both! Last year, my exercise routine, if you can even call it that, consisted mostly of some walking and running (chasing after kids counts, right?) and occasional dancing for fun. But I haven't followed an actual exercise regimen in years. We're talking 5+ years since I've stepped foot into an actual gym or done any type of daily cardio-aerobic or even anaerobic exercises. I do a lot of walking, so that has helped, and am fortunate to have inherited a fast metabolism from both my parents. 

As I get older, though, I'm realizing I need to take more responsibility for my health, which means making exercise a daily part of my routine as well as making better eating choices. I'll still eat my pizza and tacos... because eating cauliflower rice all day will likely kill me (lol) but I'll eat them in moderation and be better about adding a heaping scoop of fresh veggies and fruit, too. I'm also cutting out processed food and trying to eat "clean." I incorporated small changes, too, starting every morning with a warm cup of water mixed with 2 Tbs. of organic apple cider vinegar, the juice from half a lemon, and a small squirt of organic, raw honey. You can read about the benefits of drinking this here. I do it to jump-start my immune system each day.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've just started the popular BBG exercise program. Holy moly, that program is no joke! I was ready to drop after session 1! But, I have to say, it felt amazing to push myself and my body, and you know what? I did it! Every small goal you accomplish counts, and I've been extremely proud of my progress so far! Since BBG is low-intensity high-resistance training, I'm also doing the More Better Me Hip-Hop Zumba classes on YouTube for my higher-intensity cardio workouts. I love dancing and exercising to hip-hop, and Camela's energy is so contagious in her videos, it 's hard not to have fun and stay motivated! To keep me on track with my fitness goals, my husband recently surprised me with this pink/rosegold FitBit, and I'm loving it! It tracks my daily heart rate, exercise activity, water intake, and even my sleep so that I can review and analyze my sleep patterns!

So, those are my top 3 goals for 2018. As you can see, self-care is a large part of it; I feel it's so crucial for a better me -- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have a few other smaller goals that I'm working on, too -- early Spring cleaning, culling and purging my closet, shopping less and being more selective in what I purchase, as well as re-styling more of what I already own. It's all still a work-in-progress, but I'm getting there! Baby steps are better than no steps at all, right?

And don't get me wrong -- I'm still overwhelmed with projects: daily work, mom/wife duties, landlord duties (including a pending property remodel and sale that's driving me insane), my own kitchen and master bath re-model plans, family vacation plans (a good stress), house-hunting (our family of 5 has outgrown our current house), and a million other things, but you know what? That's life! We all have our daily responsibilities and stresses, but we have to try to make the most of them. I'm already finding that the steps I'm taking to achieve my goals above are helping me to better cope with these situations, and I'm sharing them with you in hopes that they'll help you, too. It's worth a try!

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you so much for reading! And if you have any questions or want to learn more about any of these, please message me and I'll be happy to help! :-)

I hope you're having a great start to the year, and I'd love to hear what goals you're working towards in 2018!

XO,
Sara

12/29/17

New Year's Eve Style: Winter-White, Bows & Sparkle

 This time of year wouldn't be complete without a little glitz, glam, and sparkle -- especially as New Year's Eve approaches. Cue all the sparkly sequin numbers! Whether you're celebrating NYE with a bang at all the premiere parties, heading out for dinner/cocktails, or keeping it low-profile with a small get-together at home, this look will have you dazzling for all of them!

Today I'm sharing a quick and simple way to transform a strapless sequin dress into a classy, feminine ensemble by wearing it as a skirt!
Styling a Mini Dress as a Skirt
By now, you know my affinity for re-styling some of my favorite pieces; I love breathing new life into them for a whole new look, getting the most use of them. Well, I'm doing just that by taking this $20 Forever 21 strapless, sequin mini dress and re-styling into a pencil skirt! I've actually done this for several years now with these types of statement pieces to break them up and keep them interesting. I don't like to spend a lot on seasonal pieces like this since I know I'll only wear them a handful of times each year. This dress fit the bill: gold, sparkly, fun, and super-affordable! This one, this one, and this one would also work well if you're searching for similar last-minute options! And since sparkly sequins are pretty much synonymous with New Year's Eve, you really can't go wrong with a splash of them!

Small Style Tip
To get the dress to lay just right, here's my small style tip: pull the strapless dress down a bit, so that the top of the dress sits just below the bust (just below your bra.) To anchor it and to smooth out any small lumps from the sequins, layer a tight bandeau-style bra or cami over it, making sure to cover the top of the dress to keep it secure. It may sound silly, but trust me, it works like a charm! I love that it allows you to wear a mini dress as a skirt, giving you another way to wear it! If it sounds too fussy for you, I've found a similar sequin pencil skirt that keeps things simple, allowing you to bypass this step altogether. ;-)

Partial to Peplum
Since it's been a bit chilly in the evenings, I knew I wanted to add a sweater for this look. What sweater drapes beautifully over a pencil skirt better than a peplum? Peplums are a girl's best friend. They don't swallow up your shape like most sweaters, highlighting the narrowest part of your waist, and then flaring out nicely over the hips for an ├╝ber-flattering silhouette, making you look amazing. See? Best friend. My peplum sweater is older from Ann Taylor, but they released a similar one this season here that would look darling (and it's on sale!). I also found another cute, winter-white one here that's worth a glance!
Put a Bow on It
Adding a bow adds an extra, special touch to just about anything, doesn't it? Bow pumps, bow-neck blouses, bow embellishments -- you know I adore them all! To keep this look dressy and festive, I added a navy, silk, sash belt and tied it into a bow at the waist. Super simple but oh-so-pretty! Any dark sash belt, long ribbon, or even a skinny scarf will do the trick. My sash is actually from an old Anthropologie dress, but here's a similar one for only $10 if you're in need of one! A navy or black sash belt works best in my opinion since it's the perfect contrast against the lighter, neutral colors of the sweater and "skirt."
More Sparkle, Please
If you want an extra dose of sparkle, add a crystal statement necklace and favorite crystal earrings. My crystal logo Chanel studs were a recent gift from my hubby, and I can't stop wearing them! Who says you need a special occasion to wear your favorite pieces? If you love them, wear them; I say treat every day as a special occasion!  

Fun, festive, feminine, and pretty: everything an outfit should encapsulate this time of year... especially for New Year's Eve! 

Thanks so much for reading, and I'm wishing you a fun, dazzling, happy, healthy, prosperous, and stylish close of 2017 and beginning of 2018! I hope it's all-around spectacular!

Much love,
XO
OUTFIT DETAILS:
Ann Taylor Peplum Sweater - old (current season here - on sale!, also similar here) //
Forever 21 Sequin, Strapless Mini-Dress - sold out online (similar here, here & here; similar pencil skirt here) // Navy Sash Belt - taken from an old Anthropologie dress (similar here - only $10!) //
Saint Laurent crossbody/clutch - sold out online (similar here, budget-friendly here) //
Chanel Crystal Logo Stud Earrings - gifted (similar here) //
J.Crew Crystal Statement Necklace - old (similar here) //
Jessica Simpson Nude Patent Pumps (here - on sale!, more sizes here)






12/24/17

12 Festive Outfit Ideas (Round-up)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house...was a girl with clothes everywhere, trying to decide on a blouse. (hehe. Can anyone else relate?)

Christmas Eve is here, and I hope you're all enjoying this holiday weekend with your loved ones! If you're still snuggled up in your favorite PJs but need some quick ideas on what to wear either later tonight or tomorrow for your holiday events or gatherings, I've rounded up 12 Festive Outfit Ideas for you! These are a few of my personal seasonal favorites that I've tweaked and adapted over the years and that are super-easy to re-create with pieces you likely already have in your wardrobe! 

I hope these will give you a burst of #holidaystyle inspiration, and if you do re-create any of them I'd love to see them! (Tag me, @stylemepretty661, on Instagram for a chance to be featured in my Insta-stories!)

LOFT winter-white cable-knit sweater  - very limited stock (also cute here) //
Crystal statement necklace, c/o (also love this one!) //
J.Crew Tartan plaid scarf - sold out (similar here for only $8; cute here & here)

Just add your favorite jeans or leggings! Easy-peasy!

SHOP THE LOOK


J.Crew Tartan plaid button-down shirt //
Forever 21 Heather-grey flippy skirt - old (similar here for only $8!; cute here & here) //
Metallic Skinny belt // Black tights //
Burgundy suede pumps - old (similar here & here) //
Ann Taylor burgundy crossbody satchel - old (similar here & here)

A seasonal hit that always garners lots of compliments!

SHOP THE LOOK


LOFT textured Pullover Sweater - old (love this one & this one!) //
Burberry scarf (great dupe here!) // 
Ann Taylor dark skinny jeans // Vince Camuto taupe over-the-knee boots //
Michael Kors dome satchel - T.J.Maxx store find (almost identical MK bag here)

A great dressy-casual option that's comfy, too!

Ann Taylor camel wrap coat - very limited stock (similar here, here, and here) //
Louis Vuitton eva damier crossbody (similar pre-loved here & heremore pre-loved LV options)

Added a camel wrap coat -- perfect for cooler temps and an extra touch of elegance!

See more photos/details from THIS blog post

SHOP THE LOOK

Talbot's striped knit long-sleeve top - old (similar here & here; also love this peplum one!) //
Ann Taylor dark skinny jeans // Reversible plaid scarf - only $18! (also in red plaid) //
Nordstrom Halogen suede bow pumps - old (cute here & here)

The quintessential, holiday-style outfit. Love the pattern-mixing and the pop of red!

SHOP THE LOOK


 Crystal statement necklace, c/o (also love this one!) //
Express ruffled dress - this color sold out (great dupes here & here) //
MAC lipstick in "Diva"

A simple-yet-pretty dressy option. Love the silky ruffles!

SHOP THE LOOK

Express ruffled dress - this color sold out (great dupes here & here) //
Chanel Tote - vintage (similar pre-loved hereheremore pre-loved options; budget-friendly dupes here, here, and here) // Dainty gold & crystal choker necklace - old (similar here)

Same dress as above, styled with black tights and over-the-knee boots. Added a lace black cami for more coverage at the bust, too.

A darling, modest option for a dinner event or party!

SHOP THE LOOK

Eliza J lace bell-sleeve dress - very limited stock (similar here, here & here) //
Chanel medium double-flap bag - vintage (similar pre-loved herehere, more pre-loved options here; budget-friendly dupes here & here)

Adore this ultra-feminine party look! A little lace dress will never fail you, even if you're in a pinch. Add a pair of sparkly statement earrings for even more dazzle!

See more photos/details & other lace party dresses from THIS blog post

SHOP THE LOOK


Ann Taylor winter-white cable-knit sweater - old (similar here) //
Old Navy plaid button-down shirt - old (similar here) //
J.Crew statement necklace - old (similar here) //
LOFT tweed flare skirt (similar here & here!) //
Vince Camuto gold shimmer pumps (similar here, here, and here!) 

Another one of my seasonal repeats that never fails me!

SHOP THE LOOK


Ann Taylor mock-neck sweater - this color sold out (similar here; long-sleeved here, cashmere on sale here) // Chicwish or Choies striped, pleated skirt - old (similar here & here - both less than $30!) // Chanel brooch - vintage (similar pre-loved herehere, more pre-loved options; love this Chanel snowflake brooch, too!) 

This look is one of my all-time favorites; it's minimal yet modest and classy! I love Chanel, but any beautiful brooch would look elegant -- this affordable crystal snowflake brooch would add extra holiday flair!

See more photos/details from THIS blog post

SHOP THE LOOK

Ann Taylor mock-neck sweater - this color sold out (similar here; long-sleeved here, cashmere on sale here) // LOFT Crystal statement necklace - old (love this one!) //

Same sweater as above, but styled with a pencil skirt and pumps for a festive, office-friendly look. Adore this longer-length skirt, which lends more refinement and polish!

See more photos/details of this skirt in THIS blog post

SHOP THE LOOK

Ann Taylor winter-white cable-knit sweater - old (similar here & here) //
Crystal statement necklace, c/o (also love this one!) //
Kate Spade gold glitterbug bag - sold out (similar here, here, and here

All the components of a pretty, festive look: cable-knit, plaid, bows, and a side of sparkle! And the skirt has pockets!

SHOP THE LOOK

Another soft and comfy casual option. The tartan scarf adds the perfect festive touch!

SHOP THE LOOK


And there you have my quick round-up of 12 Festive Outfit Ideas! I hope this makes getting out of your cozy jammies just a little easier. ;-)

Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend, whatever your plans! Be safe and be sure to squeeze your loved ones extra tight! This season and every season is about cherishing family, friends, and all the little things that we can sometimes overlook or take for granted during the hustle n' bustle of everyday life. I have so much to be thankful for including my family, friends, our health, and so much more! I'm also very thankful for you and appreciate your support of my humble, little blog!
XO

12/19/17

Last-Minute Gift Ideas: $50 or Less!

It's crunch-time!
If you're still doing last-minute shopping and looking for the best gifts "for her" on a budget, I've got you covered! I've rounded up 50 gift ideas that are all $50 or less and that will arrive on or before Christmas Eve! Most retailers are still offering free standard shipping on all orders placed now and through tomorrow morning, with several going the extra mile to expedite shipping on all orders with complimentary 2-day shipping. Get your orders in by 12/21 just to be safe! (FYI, Nordstrom's deadline is 9am, PST/12pm EST, 12/21. That's the final deadline for free standard shipping as well as next-business-day shipping.)

Now, on to the goodies! I've included everything from darling dresses, plush knitwear and other cozy must-haves like scarves, gloves, and hats, beauty goodies, glitzy and sparkly baubles and trinkets, covetous hostess gifts, handbags, and more! These are all gifts that I would love to have (or may already have, ha!) and that are sure to please your girlfriends, mom, sisters, and all the other special ladies in your life.

Click on any item in the collage above to shop!

A small tip if you want to gift like a pro and earn extra brownie points: bundle up your gifts by stuffing a pretty clutch or handbag full of several smaller gifts like makeup, hand creams, mini perfume sets, jewelry, and more. I've done this for years for friends and family, carefully choosing their favorite makeup brands/colors, perfume sets, accessories, etc. and it's always a hit! (Just make sure all beauty products are sealed tightly and wrapped to prevent any potential spills or leaks.) You can do this with a large mug, too, filling it with candies or other small goodies and then packaging it with a soft throw or serving tray. It makes such a lovely housewarming/hostess gift, too!

Lastly, take advantage of all the amazing deals available right now!
For example, you can score this adorable and festive PJ set on sale for only $10! Not even Old Navy can top that price, and they're notorious for their festive and super-affordable PJ sets, which I have and love (their thermal fairisle sets are some of my favorites!) Speaking of PJs, I just picked up this cute sweatshirt to mix and match with my other sets -- it's so soft and snugly and only $18! (I sized up for a looser, relaxed fit.)

I hope these gift ideas and tips help with your last-minute shopping! XO

See all my $50 or Less Gift Ideas below!

12/15/17

Delicate Lace for the Holidays: My Top Lace-Dress Picks


With the holidays quickly approaching, and with so many of us scrambling to get everything done before then, it's totally understandable if you haven't had any time to plan out what to wear for your upcoming parties or special events! Or maybe you've had no time for online browsing/shopping and find yourself staring aimlessly at your closet wondering what you can throw together last-minute. Well, not to worry, because I've been there, and if there's one thing I've come to rely on and know to be completely foolproof when it comes to last-minute outfit planning, it's that a little lace dress can do wonders!

Today I'm sharing a little holiday-style inspiration (for those of you who celebrate) in the form of beautiful, delicate lace that will have you party-ready and looking like the belle of the ball in no time! 
To start, it's all about finding the right dress. 
Easier said than done, I know. Finding the right dress can be like finding the proverbial needle in a hay stack! But that's why I've rounded up some of the prettiest lace dresses I could find for you, including the one I'm wearing for this look! The dresses are all at varying prices and sizes to give you the most options while saving you time and energy, and it's my hope I can find something you absolutely LOVE and can't wait to wear to your next event. Think of me as your personal shopper and stylist for the day (or every day if you'll let me, since I enjoy it so much!) ;-)

Before I share my dress picks, let's talk about this amazing Eliza J lace dress. I'm not exaggerating when I say I let out a small squeal when I saw it. It has the most beautiful details that make my feminine-style-loving heart swell. You know how much I gravitate towards all the pretty, little details, and this dress has them all for me: the delicate floral lace, the scalloped, eyelash lace trim along the hem, the sheer bell-sleeves with their medallion and floral lace motifs, the fit-and-flare silhouette, and the contrasting winter-white and nude color combo.  Yep, it was love at first sight. A party dress should do that for you, right?
Not surprisingly, sizes for this dress went super-fast online, and only a few sizes remain in stock. If your size is available, I wouldn't think twice about getting it; you won't regret it. Otherwise, I found two very similar styles here and here that are just as beautiful and actually had me doing a double-take because they're nearly identical to mine! 

Below are my other lace-dress picks, which I carefully curated. They're not style- or brand-specific, but you'll notice several by Eliza J (I'm a huge fan of her designs) as well as a few from BHLDN, which is Anthropologie's wedding/occasion-wear line that I absolutely adore. If you've never heard of it, you really must check it out. I find myself ogling over all of the ornate and vintage-inspired cocktail dresses and gowns, daydreaming of all the fabulous places I'd wear them. They're truly stunning works-of-art! See for yourself here, here, and here!

LACE HOLIDAY DRESSES: MY TOP PICKS

Once you find the perfect dress, you need the perfect accessories to complement it! With any intricate lace, you really don't need much in the way of accessories since you want to keep the focus on the lace, so I suggest keeping it simple with a hint of color or shimmer.  For this look, I went with two of my favorites: these gold, shimmery pumps by Vince Camuto (that I shared in my last post) and my vintage Chanel medium double-flap bag in ballerine-pink. I love that they're both feminine and dainty. 
OUTFIT DETAILS:
Eliza J Lace Bell-Sleeve Dress (0) - stock very limited (similar here, here, here) //
Vince Camuto "Cresida" Pumps (5.5) - old (similar here, here, love these bow pumps, too!) //
Chanel Medium Double-Flap Bag - vintage (similar herehere, more pre-loved options; budget-friendly here, here) // Ann Taylor Pearl Stud Earrings - old (similar here)

I hope these lace-dress ideas help you plan for your upcoming holiday parties or special events, especially if you're in a pinch!

Nothing turns heads more than a stunning lace number!

Thanks, as always, for reading!
XO





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