Friday, February 28, 2014

Love at First Sight

Do you believe in love at first sight?  I sure did when I saw these shoes at DSW a few years ago!  That store is dangerous for me as a shoe-aholic. :)  I had gone there with some of my girlfriends to look for shoes for my upcoming engagement photo shoot and when I saw these I just knew I had to work them in somehow!  I had never heard of the brand, Poetic Licence, before.  I looked them up online and they have some really fun, quirky shoes and they're fairly reasonable too!  I encourage you to look them up next time you're looking for something a little different.

What I'm Wearing
Top ~ Express (similar)
Jeans ~ Limited
Shoes ~ Poetic Licence (these are different, but I love this pair, this one and this one!)
Clutch ~ from a local boutique (similar)
Necklace ~ Limited (another option here)
Earrings ~ gift (similar)
Bracelets ~ Stella & Dot and WHBM (similar)

PS ~ Here is a photo from the engagement shoot (from 3 years ago) where I'm wearing the shoes! :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jean Jacket

I can't believe I am admitting this, but I have only recently come into possession of a jean jacket.  I always liked how they looked, but I never thought to buy one for myself (don't ask me why, haha).  I came across this one at The Limited (yes, I know I shop there way too often, but their clothes fit me so well and they are always doing 40-50% off sales, so I can't help it when they have such great deals!). ;-)  The jacket fit great and I like the dark color of it.  Now I have my eye out for a lighter color one.  I've listed a few options I'm looking at down at the bottom of the post.

What I'm Wearing
Top ~ Express, similar
Jacket ~ Limited
Jeans ~ WHBM, similar
Shoes ~ Guess (old)
Clutch ~ Limited, similar, I love this one!
Necklace ~ Limited, similar

Here are some lighter colored jean jackets options.  Which one is your favorite?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shop Your Closet

Have you ever gone shopping and saw this fabulous dress or outfit that you would just love to have but it was a bit out of your price range? That happens to me all the time, haha.

Unfortunately, I don't have an unlimited budget for clothing, and even though I don't officially have a set amount that I allow myself to spend on clothes each month, I try to keep it under a certain amount. If something is a great deal, then I will generally snatch it up.  However, if it is a little more than I want to/should spend, I will try to keep an eye on it and wait for it to go on sale.  Another option is to try to recreate something similar with what you have in your own closet!

This happened to me recently ~ I saw this cool Cynthia Steffe dress at Nordstrom in December and really wanted to buy it, but when I saw the price tag I decided to wait and see if it would go on sale.  I've checked online from time to time, but here it is almost 3 months later, and it is still at full price.  One morning when I was figuring out to wear it dawned on me ~ I had all of the pieces in my closet to create a similar look!

The Cynthia Steffe Ruffled Peplum Dress from Nordstrom

My interpretation

The best part about the outfit I put together is that it is totally customizable!  I can wear it without the long sleeve shirt underneath for a sleeveless look or even swap out the skirt for black pants!  (See how I styled the peplum top another way here.)  So not only did I save money by shopping my own closet, I have more outfit options!  That's a win~win in my book! :)

That's one of my favorite things about Pinterest ~ there are so many outfit inspirations out there that you can use to shop your own closet and give new life to the clothes you already own.  And don't be afraid to mix it up a little if you don't have exactly the same thing as your Pinterest (or other) inspiration.  For example, if the inspiration photo has a plain top and striped skirt but you have a plain skirt and striped top, give those a try.  Or if you have the same issue with the colors, as in the inspiration photo has a navy cardigan and yellow pants, but you have a yellow cardigan and navy pants, then give those a try too.  Many times you can use the inspiration photos for the color combinations even if you don't necessarily like the actual outfit.  I hope these tips have helped give you new ideas when it comes to shopping your own closet!

If you're on Pinterest, you can follow me here.  And if you're not, you have no idea what you are missing!  You need to check it out! :)

What I'm Wearing
Inspiration ~ Cynthia Steffe
Long Sleeve Shirt ~ Limited
Peplum Top ~ WHBM
Skirt ~ Limited, similar
Belt ~ WHBM
Earrings ~ Juicy Couture, similar
Shoes ~ WHBM, similar here and here
Clutch ~ Banana Republic

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winter Uniform

The outfit in this post could not be more different from yesterday's.  It is still warm here, but I wanted to show one of my favorite combos to wear during the winter ~ a long sleeve shirt, puffer vest and boots!  I seriously could wear this everyday.   I love the way it looks together, it's so comfortable and it keeps me warm (especially in the office where it's always a bit cold).  What is your favorite go-to when it's cold outside?

What I'm Wearing
Shirt ~ Limited
Vest ~ Columbia (very similar)
Jeans ~ WHBM
Boots ~ Ugg
Necklace ~ Premier Designs (similar here and here)
Earrings ~ gift (from Paris!)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Island Casual

Island prints are a lot of fun to wear, but hard to pull off everyday... unless you live in Hawaii! :)  I saw this shirt on sale not long after I found out we were going to be traveling to Belize.  What perfect timing and a good excuse to buy it.  This type of ensemble is great for a day at the beach or lounging by the pool on a summer day.  I know summer seems like a long way off for many of you (temps have actually been in the high 70's for us the past few days ~ a nice break from the cold), but it's never too early to start planning for (or at least dreaming of) warm weather.

I want to try to incorporate this top into an everyday casual look to see if I can pull it off.  I will report back if I succeed!

What I'm Wearing
Top ~ Banana Republic, similar here and here
Shorts ~ Limited, another option
Sandals ~ Steve Madden, very similar
Sunglasses ~ Tag Heur

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Belize ~ Part II

I hope you enjoyed reading about the first part of my trip!  Thank you for indulging me to use this blog as an online journal for recording my adventure. :)  So without further ado, here is the rest of the trip!

Day 4
Day 4 was really cool!  We were originally only planning on checking out some Mayan ruins, but we heard about a local chocolatier who gave tours of his facility and provided lunch, so we decided to do that too.  When we arrived at the chocolatier place, we got a quick tour of everything and then we got to make our own chocolate by hand!  

Ixcacao Chocolate
A cocao plant growing under the shade of another tree

The cocao beans were heated in a slow cooker and then we removed the shells by hand.  Then we crushed and smoothed them out on a grinding stone.  After adding enough sugar to sweeten it up, we finished mixing it up and put it into a chocolate mold and then into the fridge to harden.  While waiting for it to harden, we were treated to a delicious lunch of chicken cooked in a sauce made with the cocao, similar to mole.  It was so good!

Sipping some fresh hot chocolate

Cocao beans with shells
Deshelling the beans

Bean without its shell

The chocolatier, Juan, showed us the ropes when it came to grinding up the cocao beans.  His shirt says "Chocolate will save the Rainforest" and the message behind that is cocao plants can help prevent jungle destruction.  The plants need shade in order to grow.  If more of the crop was planted under the jungle canopy, the money made from the chocolate would be enough to negate the need for deforestation of the trees for lumber, etc or to make room for other crops.  I loved the shirt, and his little shop sold them, but unfortunately he was sold out.  I think it is a great cause to support, and besides, who doesn't want more chocolate? ;)

Juan is Mayan and he told us a lot of interesting things about the Mayans living in Belize.  For example, there are 7 tribes in the area and they each have their own language.

Plain dark chocolate, chocolate with chili powder, chocolate with coconut, and chocolate with cocao nibs

Delicious chicken in chocolate sauce

Us with the chocolatier family ~ they made me look tall :)

Next stop were the Mayan ruins.  They were fairly small, but still really neat to check out.

On our way out we drove over a hill that had an amazing vista.

Day 5
I remember waking up a little sad on day 5 knowing we only had two more full days left.  A part of me wanted to give up all my comforts back home and move to Belize permanently with reckless abandon.  I could give up fashion for the views and peaceful way of living. :)

Up for today was deep sea fishing for the guys and a day of shopping and a massage at the spa for us ladies.  We dropped the guys off at the Sittee River Marina, which was just 15 minutes down the road from our resort, and headed to Placencia.  Placencia was a town about 1 hour down the coast that had more shopping options than Hopkins.  The drive down was gorgeous.  The second half of the ride was on a peninsula with gorgeous water views on either side.

We checked out the little shops and bought some fun souvenirs and postcards.  There were these little woven turtles that were sold everywhere.  I thought they were the cutest thing.  They even opened up to reveal a small storage area.

A couple of the little shops

Isn't this so cute?

A perfect little spot to store earrings

While walking around, we came across a funny little place called The Purple Space Monkey.  The name alone made it too good to pass up, so we stopped for lunch.  The food was pretty good!

Right across the street was a little gelato shop, so of course I had to get a little sweet treat. :)  Then we headed back to Hopkins for our spa date.

Meanwhile the guys had a lot of fun fishing.  They caught a decent amount of fish.  They also saw a sea turtle and shark while they were out there.  We brought some of the fish they caught back to Chef Rob's for dinner and he cooked it up for us.  It was delicious as usual!

While Horace, the fishing guide, was filleting the fish and throwing scraps in the river, a crocodile came up to the surface to eat it!  We didn't get any pictures, but it was a little bit freaky since we didn't know crocodiles were in the area.

The day's catch
Horace filleting the fish for our dinner!

Day 6
This was probably one of my absolute favorite days!  We went ziplining through the jungle and then we hiked up to the top of a waterfall.  The zipline had 8 different lines!

All geared up and ready to go!

On one of the platforms

Here are a couple videos my hubby took on the ziplines.  

Our guides, Roberto and Carlos, were cool.  Roberto was born in Belize but grew up in Spain.  Carlos was born and grew up in Guatemala.  After the 5th zipline, they said they had a little surprise for us ~ turns out we had to "repel" off a platform.  Basically we just had to hold onto the rope and Carlos would control the rope to let us down.  Well, he was a stinker and decided to give me a little surprise on my way down, haha.  Check it out in the video.  

We had a blast ziplining with them!

After grabbing a quick bite to eat at the little restaurant in the park, we headed over to the Antelope Falls trail to hike to the top of the waterfall.  I was hoping I would be able to make it since I'd heard it was a tough hike and I needed to be careful with my knee.

Park Map ~ Antelope Falls trail is at the top

The falls were gorgeous

We had to use ropes for some of the more treacherous, steep parts.

The view was breathtaking at this stopping point!  After this we only had to go up a few more hard sections to make it to the very top.  Marty was crazy and ventured over closer to the edge.  I was too chicken. :)

After trekking through those last few tough parts, we finally made it to the very top!  Marty climbed over to the top of the waterfall and jumped into the pool.  The water was cold!

Climbing back down was an adventure!  Using the rope in the steep sections, I would mostly repel backwards to make it easier.  I was so relieved that my knee felt fine throughout the hike.  The whole hike took us about 3 hours and had a 1000 ft elevation change!  It was a ton of fun, but I was happy when we finally made it back to the car.  :)

Later that evening, for our last dinner, we ventured over to a neighboring resort, Belizean Dreams. Marty had bacon wrapped lobster, which looked amazing.  He said it tasted as good as it looked!

Our last night... it was so beautiful.

Day 7
This was our last morning in the beautiful country of Belize. :(

On our way back up to Belize City, we stopped at a cute little dairy farm we had seen on our way down.  We found out the place was run by a Mennonite family and the man who owned it had been born in Belize, but grew up in Oregon.  He moved back to Belize in his early 20's and started his farm. He said there are quite a few Mennonites in Belize.  In fact, we had seen a Mennonite couple on a date one of our nights at Chef Rob's.  I thought it was cool because where I grew up near the New York/Pennsylvania border there were many Amish and Mennonite communities.  I mentioned that to him and he said he had relatives in that area ~ small world.  Marty's dad got yogurt while the rest of us got ice cream.  I must say, it was some of the yummiest ice cream and most definitely the best yogurt that I've ever had.  I think I need to find a local dairy farm that makes fresh yogurt. :)

We were headed back during the time that all of the ice/snow storms were hitting most of the US.  We were supposed to have a layover in Atlanta, but they had been canceling flights left and right.  Long story short, our flight was super delayed and because there was a real possibility of not making it out or getting stuck in Atlanta overnight, our gate agent switched us to another airline and we flew through Miami instead.  We made it back onto US soil around 5pm and finally made it home to Houston just after 11pm.  It was a long, exhausting day but totally worth it.  The vacation was so amazing ~ now I need to plan another one! :)

Thanks for reading about my adventure.  It was fun sharing it with you!