5 Easy Life-Changes (that make a big difference)

Friday, April 28, 2017

They say there's nothing like learning a new skill to get you out of a mental rut, and there's definitely been truth in that for me lately. The past two weeks have been tough for personal reasons, but today I finally feel more like myself again - and I think part of that has been due to a shift of focus.

You know how in movies, after the girl goes through a tough breakup or something, she cuts her hair, starts taking business classes, or writing, or painting, and sort of "finds herself" again? It's a little bit like that, on a smaller scale. Sometimes you just need to step back from your life, reevaluate, and take  intentional actions against the problem areas. These are the little habits I've been trying to implement more seriously, that have refreshed my mind!

Reading is always my respite - instead of an escape from reality, as some might call it, I feel like literature reminds me of my own faults (in such a good way!). I channelled all of my spare evening time this past week into finishing the Space Trilogy, and now have started on a biography of Flannery O'Connor. Nothing like some solid writing to clear your head and make you think about things from a different, or clean, perspective.

Even if you don't consider yourself a writer, I cannot stress enough the effectiveness of simple journalling! I always find myself going in circles in my brain over the same, tired issues, and I don't even realize I'm getting tense...until I sit down and write them clearly, point by point (or in a complete mangled mess of words - because it doesn't matter if anyone else can read what you've written, it matters that it's on the page instead of cluttering your head) and I can breathe easily again. It doesn't have to be a lot, it doesn't have to be clever or witty or dramatic or creative: if you just write your thoughts, as they are, a lot of clarity comes through the process, I've found. :)

Whether it's through podcasts if you're on the go (my current favorite is The Conservative Conscience with Daniel Horowitz!) or simply the people of experience and wisdom around you, being active about listening is a great way to learn, and learning is the best way to refocus your mind and your heart. Instead of mulling over the situation, focus your energy on mastering a new skill, improving your knowledge on a certain subject, or simply gleaning from the wisdom of the more mature men and women in your life. Not only do you take the focus off of your mood and onto someone else, you also will invariably learn a lot (that you would have missed by sitting home feeling sorry for yourself).

It's so hard to make time to get outside, especially if you're working long hours and don't really have time for a walk/etc until it's dark, or simply don't feel like it. Still, even if it's just opening the windows on your drive to work, or spending your break outside when you can-- it really makes a difference to breathe that fresh air (especially around this time of year when the weather is so pleasant).

In line with the idea of listening and learning, I've recently taken up practicing French again, just flicking through a couple practice lessons here and there, to strengthen that skill again. It sounds kind of silly, but that's a guaranteed 15 minutes in the day spent positively and productively: and engages the mind in an uplifting way. If you're struggling to work through a tough spot in your life, I'd definitely recommend pouring yourself into a skill, rather than allowing that bad mood to make you stagnant.
(I use the app Duolingo, in case you were wondering.)

"And when the winter's over
The flowers climb through the snow,
The willows weep and the clover bloom,
Then all at once you hear a song
That's stronger than the noise--
R E J O I C E."

Here's to grace.


Off-Day Style | #OOTD

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's funny how suddenly when you have to dress business-casual for most of the week, that off-day (and the freedom to wear sweats if you feel like it) is suddenly a beautiful, beautiful thing. Off day style, for me, means getting to wear sneakers and t-shirts and no makeup, and while most days I want to be more put-together, sometimes it's really nice to just be comfortable. 

Of course, I can't go so far as to be sloppy -- I'm still me, after all. XD Jeans + sneakers + fitted tees (or lightweight turtlenecks, as it were, because with all the rain we had over the weekend it's been a bit chillier!) are my go-to.

And of course, an iced coffee with a shot (not pictured), sitting by my hand. ;)

Tee: Banana Republic, old, similar
White fluff keychain: gift, similar
Watch: Merona
Sunglasses: old, similar

What do you wear on an off-day, whether from work or school?

CARPE DIEM | A Monday Motivational

Monday, April 24, 2017

If there's one thing I don't really "get", it's the big anti-Monday mood. I mean, I get that it's hard to go back to work after a fun or exhausting weekend. I get that Mondays have a pretty good track record for being tough days. But I also really enjoy the prospect of a fresh week with no mistakes in it yet, and the chance to do new work: even if that means just looking at the old work with the freshness that a two-days absence brings. Today I'm sharing a few of the things that have me excited to take this fresh week on: because even though endings are hard (whether it's just the end of the weekend, or something bigger), if there's one thing I can get excited about, it's beginnings.

If you're struggling to get out of bed:
"PARACHUTE" by Chris Stapleton
This song is my jam at the moment! I always make fun of country music, and while it's definitely not my go-to genre, with summer creeping closer, I'm finding myself more drawn to its influence. I still don't think I'll ever be a country music fan, but this song gets my gears turning in the morning, and there's no arguing with that!

If you're struggling with what to wear:
I've been loving playing with shades of green lately, especially since it's really not a color I usually wear at all! I love the way Carly Heitlinger and Julia Hengel wore emerald in the photo linked above: try pairing your green with white and cognac-brown elements for a really classic spring look!

If you're struggling to get to the gym:
This energizing yoga flow is a great, quick workout if you're really too tired to do anything hardcore.

On the other hand, Carly Rowena's 20 Minute At Home Workout (no equipment required) basically deflates any excuses you might have, since you can do it right in your living room, and literally all you need are 20 minutes of time and a pair of leggings and a sports bra. It will also get your heart rate up big time - now get moving!

If you're struggling with Big Life Problems:
Fairytales are more than true, Chesterton said, "not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." This little bit of fairytale-truth from Once Upon A Time is a good reminder of why we do anything hard. Head up, darling.

If you just need to see something adorable:
You're welcome. ;)

What's keeping you motivated today?

The Chic Sheet, v. 27

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Saturday!

It's been a week of slow progress. I definitely have had moments this week when I feel like I took one step forward, two steps back, whether in my work life or my personal life. But you know what? It's also been a week of incredible grace. I've always been a firm believer in random acts of kindness, because I don't think they're ever "random" to the person you extend them to. This week I feel like I have been extended so much unprecedented, but often needed, kindness and grace, and I am so. blessed. 
via my instagram story earlier this week, when I reviewed a few of the Karlie Kloss x Express collection pieces! 

The Chic Sheet, v. 27

White Converse Low-Tops
You know how I was talking about wanting a pair of white sneakers? I found these at Nordstrom Rack last week and have been loving them! So cute and casual with jeans or shorts, but also would be really sweet with a summer dress and denim jacket. I can't wait to style them more as the weather gets fairer!

Man Repeller Vogue Video
I love when Vogue does "Inside The Wardrobe" videos - maybe I'm just nosy, but getting to rifle through other people's wardrobes (especially people with large, diverse ones) is always inspiring to me. Even though my style is pretty different from that of Leandra Medine, her approach to fashion/shopping/clothing is very much the same. Also, she's pretty funny. XD

Never On The Day You Leave
If you need to soak in your melancholy on this rainy Saturday, this track from the final installment of John Mayer's The Search for Everything can help you with that.

$29,000 Dress
I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist asking: if you were going to splash out almost $30K on a dress, why would you ever choose this one??

Outfit Shoot: Italian Riviera
Jenny constantly stuns me with her outfit posts - it's like every post is a full magazine-worthy editorial spread! This latest look is no exception. I mean how is this even possible?! Amazing.

Letters To Juliet
The girls and I had a Gilmore-Girls-level junk-food-and-chic-flick movie night last night, and we watched Letters to Juliet for the first time, if you can believe it! It was thoroughly enjoyed (over crepes with butter and raspberry syrup) (because if you're going to do "junk food" you might as well go all out). If you're looking for a cute, summery rom com, this one is precious!

Happy Weekending to all of you!

The Elegance Files, No. 16: 3 Reasons To Keep Going

Friday, April 21, 2017

Just a little series on being elegant, from tips my mother taught me and beyond. Click here to read more from the archives...

There's something about being very near the end of a season of life that is motivational: and maybe it's just me, but the excitement of finishing something is often times the reason I actually get it done! It puts a proverbial fire under my backside to end strong, just like I began.

It's the middle that's the hard part. The point when you're halfway through a project, or a day at work, or season of waiting, when the beginning feels like ages ago, and you still have so much to go. I'm currently right about the middle of my gap year, and I'm gonna be honest: I'm so ready to be done. It's been a great decision to take this gap year, and I definitely don't regret that by any means. But I'm reaching the point in the year when, in every previous year, I would be finishing up - and watching everyone around you doing that, meanwhile knowing your life-pace is still the exact same steady, beating drum, and will be for another 4 months...it's hard. And I know that's adult life - but considering I'm working jobs that I would not work as my adult career, it's a little bit different. I'm aching for deeper intellectual stimulation: I'm ready to be swept up in the change that Spring always seems to bring, instead of remaining behind.

But that's not my story just yet, and a part of my pursuit of becoming a more elegant woman means, (as much as I regret having to say it) learning patience. Like, really large-scale patience. Not the person in front of me on the interstate is going about 35 mph patience, because that has a brief time span, but real, four-more-months patience.

I'll be the first to tell you I suck at this. Here are 3 reasons that are keeping me going.

There are harder things to do. Unless you're suffering through a terminal disease, or going into battle (in which cases, I have to wonder why you're reading this blog), you could have it much, much worse. Don't let yourself become melancholy about how "hard" your life is, because a self-pitying woman is doesn't go anywhere (not to mention is incredibly uncomfortable to be around).

I've known people who, even going through incredibly difficult seasons, have continued to be incredibly gracious people - they have even, perhaps, grown kinder in their suffering: and if they can do it, so can you. Don't blame the world for your problems. Stand up and face them like the elegant, Child of God you are. I truly have nothing about which to complain. 

People throw around the phrase "your pain does not define you", and though often times I wonder if they truly connect with the meaning of what they are saying, it is true. Your work is not who you are, what you wear is not who you are, your place in life at the moment is not "who you are" as a person. Who you are as a person is determined by who, and what, you love. Betroth yourself to Truth, and you become an elegant woman - even if you're still wearing dirty old sneakers and leave work smelling like food every day. Remember who you are apart from this work: remember the type of person you are called to be. People can see the difference, too (and that's another reason to keep going).

What kills me most is when it feels like there is no foreseeable end to the work, because then that means that the dullness has become "what my life is." By refocusing on my end goal, by being reminded that this is truly temporary (however long it feels), and by working at small things on the side that get me closer to that light at the end of the tunnel are my motivation. Right now, that looks like researching the best winter coats for Northern winters, finalizing my incoming student forms, reading as much and as deeply as I can in my spare time, to continue my self-education. When you're focused on your personal goals, beyond work, it refreshes your sense of purpose. Remember why you started. Remember that you're only passing through, that this is not the final destination.

What keeps you going when you feel like you're getting bogged in the day-to-day? 

My Gym / Workout Essentials (To Get More Out Of Your Workout)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Over the past year and a half of being on my own workout schedule, my ideas about fitness and health have changed drastically. I didn't realize how little I knew about true health (and all the gimmicky "health" foods/programs out there) until I started working at a gym, and I didn't realize how big a difference little things like what you're wearing/eating before or after can affect the success of your workout! I've found a nice little routine overtime that works for me, and there are a couple things I can't live without when I workout! (I say that semi-facetiously, though, because I'm a firm believer in getting it done + not giving up even if everything seems to be going against you. XD)

These are my gym essentials + current favorites!

No-brainer, this one. I can't workout with a full Camelbak of water (preferably not too cold so I can guzzle it quickly). I know some people like to use pre-workout or BCAA's in their water while they workout, but I personally am not a fan and prefer to go simple. If I'm really struggling to feel motivated beforehand I'll take a "shot" of strong, iced coffee about half an hour in advance!

For me, something that's always a must is music. I have a pretty epic-sized playlist built up at this point, just for working out, and that's my go-to...but I've also been testing out the Aaptiv fitness app this week, and it's pretty neat! Basically, it mixes a personal trainer in your ear with your perfect playlist, to keep you motivated while you workout. I usually do my own thing for workouts, but I know back at the beginning of last year, when I was starting out and had no clue what I was doing, this would have been a game changer! Even now if I'm having a lazy day and don't want to come up with my own workout, I can see this easily being a go-to! At only $9.99 per month, it would definitely be more affordable than a personal trainer, if you're wanting to push yourself to the next level. You can read more about how it works here!*

As a fairly endowed woman (ha), and a cardio junkie (if that's what you'd call it?) I cannot workout without a good quality sports bra. I struggled for years to find any that did a decent job, but in the past 6-ish months, I've finally found a few that I can rely on to hold me still while I'm sprinting, and that I know I won't fall out of when I'm lifting.  This one, this one, and this one from Target and Old Navy are my favorites - and they're decently priced, too.

I used to just use the Apple earbuds that come with your phone when I worked out, and to be honest thought the whole "wireless headphone" thing was kind of a gimmick. But constant sweat made the volume-capacity of those earbuds go down completely, and so when I had to replace them, I took a step in the right direction with some wrap-around-ear headphones. The difference is amazing! Instead of constantly jamming my headphone back in my ear mid-run, I put them on and they stay in place. They're water-resistant, which means that though I've used them for a few months now, the volume is still working full-blast. XD

I still have to worry about catching the cord in my hand while I'm running though (and consequentially sending my phone flying behind me on the treadmill.) (I speak from experience.) so I'm hoping to invest in some wireless ones eventually. For now though, these little guys are doing me well (especially for only $20).

What are the things you can't workout without? :)

*This post is in collaboration with Aaptiv. All opinions expressed are completely my own. 

Easter Sunday | #OOTD

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Monday, friends!

Just stopping in quickly today to share my Easter look from yesterday...I ended up going with this sweet little off-the-shoulder dress from Banana Republic (surprise, surprise!), partly because it's super cute and also not too pricey, and partly because I didn't leave myself enough time to look anywhere else, to be honest. Ha! 

I'm genuinely very happy with it, though, and for an off-the-shoulder dress (a style which I typically find to be irritating) I actually found this to be easy and not too fidgety! Maybe not the best choice for running errands around town, but for any event where you'll be sitting or standing for long periods of time, it's comfortable: light enough to wear for summer, but still fully lined (read: not transparent, praise the Lord!) and surprisingly warm, actually. Which is good, because I don't imagine a sweater would be feasible with these fabulous flounce sleeves. XD

And it has pockets. Banana is so good about making their dresses with pockets. 

It was so nice to get to spend the whole day off yesterday, relaxing with family! The weather was a little spotty (as you can probably tell in these photos, the sun was in and out and made lighting pretty inconsistent) but it was warm and we ate donuts for breakfast (sugar! ahh!) and a lamb roast dinner, and it was lovely. I probably had too many peanut m&m's, and definitely teared up in church, recognizing yet again the sheer magnitude of the Sacrifice made for us - for me. I'm full and blessed. So blessed.

It's the little things, you know?

How were your Easter celebrations? Are you dragging your feet as much as I am this Monday? (Ha!)

Outfit Details:
Sandal wedges: Mossimo, old, similar
Earrings: old, similar

Learning to be soft | The Chic Sheet, v. 26

Saturday, April 15, 2017

via tumblr
Happy bloomin' Saturday, you guys. 

This week has definitely been an emotional one, but not necessarily in a bad way. I think it's so easy to think of difficult situations in a negative way, but my focus at the moment is to take them as learning experiences. ("Focus" being the operative word...I'm trying but I can't promise I'm succeeding.) I don't want to be the type of person that's sunk by every little problem: I want to be graceful enough to rise above it and find the good in the situation; strong enough to take sorrows as an excuse to be even more soft and kind than before, rather than becoming hard and distant, or putting up walls.

That's deep stuff, I know, but life is deep: and I want to do what's right.

On a lighter note: here are the bits I've been loving these past two weeks! 

The Chic Sheet, v. 26

1. Karlie Kloss Express Collection
The minute I found out Karlie Kloss would be designing her own pieces for Express, I was excited. In case you didn't know, I'm kind of a huge fan of Karlie's effortless cool-girl street-style, but the actual pieces she wears are far out of my budget (and probably miles too long for my short-girl legs too, let's be honest! Haha..). But Express is a much more affordable brand, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the pieces are pretty affordable. I may have made a cheeky online order of a couple items to try, on the promise I would return whatever didn't work/fit in the budget. I'll have to share how it works when it arrives!

In addition to a gorgeous clothing collection, Karlie also shared an in-depth behind the scenes look at the design process, which I found incredibly interesting!

2. Andrew Peterson
I guess this is part and parcel of having a busy life, but recently when it comes to music, I've been craving quiet, gentler melodies. Andrew Peterson's soothing voice and incredible lyrics have been just what the doctor ordered, whether I'm doing my makeup in the quiet early morning, winding down in the evening, or doing a little work in between jobs. Some particular tracks I've been loving are The Sower's Song, Don't You Want To Thank Someone, and You'll Find Your Way.

3. Pixi Skincare
After mentioning their Rose Oil in my post yesterday, I started looking at some of Pixi's other skincare products, and there are so many that I now want to try! In particular, the glow tonic looks like a great option, but I'm also eyeing up the overnight glow serum, and the glow mud cleanser...

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser Trailer
I'm a geek, no use hiding it. ;)
 GUYS. The teaser is out for The Last Jedi, and I'm definitely feeling all the conflicting emotions. I would suggest a hash-out in the comments, but as is typical with teasers, there's really hardly anything to latch on to. Still -- I'm excited!

Happy Saturday + Happy Easter, dear friends!

My Updated Skincare Routine | Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

Friday, April 14, 2017

I want to start out this post by being quite clear: I've had pretty much every skin care concern you can think of, when it comes to my face, bar cystic acne. Whiteheads, blackheads, irritation, redness, hyperpigmentation/discoloration...and to top it off, my skin is oily-prone and sensitive! It's definitely something I've wrestled with constantly over the years, and though I'd by no means say my skin is perfect, or even very close to where I would like it to be, it is in much better condition than it once was. I don't have near as many breakouts as I used to. I don't feel like I need to cake on foundation to cover my skin (though I never did this frequently, because I knew it wasn't good for my skin, there were definitely times where I was tempted to). And I'm dramatically less self-conscious of my face than I once was. I workout and get red and sweaty and don't feel like all people are going to see is my acne - but maybe that's not just a skincare thing; maybe that's also a confidence thing. (That's also a Thing for another post, because I'm talking about skincare today. ;)

As I've mentioned countless times before, the majority of change started happening when I cut sugar (and later dairy) out of my diet (for the most part) (I still splurge every now and then) (I see you, Easter...). I think so many people focus a lot on exterior products and forget to change what they're putting on internally first! That being said, it's still very important to care for that epidermis, especially as summer creeps up on us, and all that delicious vitamin D tempts us to forget SPF and get a golden glow. (Guilty as charged.)

So what is that routine? So glad you asked. ;)

I used to be team simpler-is-better! but while I still take a very minimalistic approach to skincare (too many products overwhelm sensitive skin, after all), something I have expanded is the way in which I cleanse my skin. Instead of going straight in with a foaming, water-base cleanser, I first start with an oil-base cleanser. What fancy, expensive oil-based cleanser is my daily go-to? A tub of coconut oil.

I know what you're thinking: coconut oil?? I have oily skin! But I promise, it works wonders and does not leave any residual oiliness. It hydrates your skin in the process which, as you probably know by now, is the best answer to oily skin (oily = dehydrated + trying to make up for it).

Massage a bit between your middle- and ring-fingers to melt it to its oil consistency, and massage the oil all over your face to break down the makeup. (Be careful around the eyes, as you don't want to massage your melted mascara into your skin!) This way, when you go in for the actual "cleanse," you can properly clean the skin, instead of just starting to get the makeup off (because water-based cleansers can't actually clean to the depth of an oil).

The foaming cleanser I've used for several months now, and have really been enjoying is the Simple Foaming Facial Cleanser. It's very gentle on my skin, but it does the job and is very affordable. I only wish it came in travel-size!

As you know, I've sworn by my Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ for years now. It's my standby, my go-to, my ride-or-die (though I resonate with this post, too much to say that?). But around Christmas time, I was wanting a little more moisture from my routine, and I wanted to add a face oil. I browsed around, read some reviews of oils way out of my budget, and then found this Pixie Skin Treats Rose Oil Blend at Target, picked it up on a whim and fell in love. Oh my word, you guys! It smells of fresh, sweet rose petals. In some two days of using it, my skin was noticeably brighter and more glowing. I hardly even use highlighter anymore, because of this.

So: two pumps of Clinique + two drops of Rose Facial Oil, massaged gently into the skin with your fingertips. It's very probably my favorite part of my nighttime routine.

Before I put on my makeup in the morning, I wear e.l.f.'s Mineral Infused Face Primer. This is the only part of my skincare routine that I'm consciously looking to change, simply because as much as I love this primer, and it definitely makes a difference to have that second barrier between my skin and the makeup (the first being my moisturizer), I find it makes my makeup wear off faster. Anyone have any recommendations for primers to make your makeup last all day, but not too drying on the skin?

About twice a week, just to keep things lively, I'll use some sort of gentle exfoliant or, alternatively, a face mask! (More often the exfoliant, though, because I can't be bothered to go to the store and buy masks all the time, let's be real!) I do this step pre-moisturizing, of course.
My favorite exfoliants come from St. Ives, because I've never found them to irritate my skin - I've had some charcoal mask horror stories from other companies, on the other hand - and they're affordable, and come in a big tube that lasts ages. XD I've used the Nourished + Smooth Oatmeal Scrub, the Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub and the Fresh Skin Apricot scrub - all are great! (I want to try the Pink Lemon and Mandarin Orange one, now, ha!)

In re: Masks, Sephora has a lot of great little ones! I'm especially a fan of the avocado and pearl face masks! Again, they're affordable, easy to use, and a nice treat for the skin!

And that's it! Simple, but it works. I'd like to add a toner in, at this point, but I've yet to find one I'm willing to try out...any recommendations would be largely appreciated! 

What are your skincare routines?

Spring Wardrobe Essentials

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

After my big ol' closet clear-out a couple weeks ago, and getting rid of a lot of clothes that just didn't fit well anymore / were looking tired and worn out, I decided this weekend to pull out my spring and summer clothes! The weather has been pretty consistently warm, (at least as consistent as Spring can be) and as we've already had a couple 80-degree days, I figured it couldn't hurt to have my shorts and shorter dresses accessible! Until I realized that all but one pair of last year's shorts are too big (yay working out?) and I need to build up my summer wardrobe again. *le sigh*

Not that I'm complaining or anything, of course, (though I wish I'd known earlier and been budgeting specifically for a wardrobe overhaul): you know I'm always down to do a bit of shopping! I thought it would be fun to put together a list of the key pieces I'm looking for: just staples, the bare minimum: I'm working all summer anyway, and I'll be at school in the north come September, and starting to wear cold-weather clothes soon after that.  Still, you can only wear jeans so much in the heat of a southern summer - so these are the Spring wardrobe staples I'm looking to add to my closet!

It's just not spring until you wear denim shorts in my opinion!
My main problem with the ones I got rid of (besides their being too big, ha!) was what I've dubbed "respectability". I find it so difficult to find a pair of jean shorts that aren't bermuda length (really not flattering on me), without their being distressed beyond recognition, or so short that they hardly cover your bum! I've yet to try on our denim shorts at Banana Republic, but I bought some tailored black ones and they're perfect! Might have to invest in a pair of denim ones now...

Other shops I plan to scour are Old Navy and T.J. Maxx-- my usual haunts! I've also found really decent shorts at thrift stores in the past, so I'll definitely be looking there as well...

You never think you'll need a cardigan until you need one and it's too late. Too many times recently, I've been getting dressed and wishing I had just a little sweater to throw over my shoulders: whether for indoor events when the AC will be blowing, or evenings when a sleeveless top isn't quite enough. I'm looking for something not too heavy, a light grey color, and easy to wear with anything. Maybe I'm looking for a perfect world in this cardigan (hehe) but I like to keep my standards high. ;) I'm currently eyeing this classic one from Target!

I love the look of white sneakers with jeans, or little springy dresses for more casual affairs...and though I've always been a fan of the look, I've never actually bought a pair! This year I'm especially determined, because I don't have a pair of sneakers cute enough to wear to work - and some days I just really want to wear comfortable shoes, you know? I'd love something like this...

As an alternative to shorts, I'd love to finally find a denim skirt this year...I've talked about getting one for quite a while now, and the main place I know I need to look is at the consignment shops and thrift stores in the area. I think Forever 21 or HM may also have some good options!

Maybe I've been watching too much Gilmore Girls (likely) but I'm still loving that retro look, and I know I'd wear the life out of a cute, cropped denim skirt.

I've been loving the shirtdress trend this season, and would love to add one (in a pale blue/pinstripe, ideally!) to my closet. There are so many cute ones on the market at the moment, like these two from Banana (1, 2), this one from J. Crew, and of course a score of epic options from Tuckernuck. In budget options, Forever 21 has some cute options, as well as Nordstrom Rack.

What are some spring wardrobe staples you can't live without?  

I Have A Type | #OOTD

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Monday, my friends! I apologize for the lack of a Chic Sheet this weekend: the week leading up was very good, but very full, and when it came down to writing a post or getting an extra hour or so of sleep, sleep naturally took precedence. ;) I did work out 5 days last week, as a little challenge, and though I felt great most of the week, by Friday evening I was feeling exhausted. I'm not sure if it's something I want to maintain every week, but it was a good, fun challenge! 

So this weekend, I was out shopping with Mum + one of my sisters, looking for her prom dress, and I naturally starting picking up a few spring pieces. (The shopaholic in me will never die, you guys.) When I got to the fitting room, I couldn't help but laugh a little: in my handful of hangers, not one item wasn't a shade of blue. 

What can I say? Blue is such a beautiful, soothing color! I always talk about styles and cuts that just feel "me" when I put them on, but the color blue (particularly navy) is the same way. Ask anyone who knows me: I like a lot of other colors, but the first question when I see a cute piece is usually "does it come in navy?" 

So naturally this navy blazer was a needed staple for my wardrobe.

I didn't even mind that it was chillier on Saturday, because it meant I could wear it with my favorite blue sweater. Too much blue? No such thing.

life is short: why not dance a little? x)
Sweater: Banana Republic (blue sold out, but the cream and yellow are super cute!)
Sunglasses: old, similar
Shoes: old, similar
Lipstick: MAC "Ruby Woo"

What about you? Do you tend to stick to one color family, or are you more of an eclectic? 

Friday Feature: Easter Dresses

Friday, April 07, 2017

I think it's safe to say that other than Thanksgiving and Christmas (which are basically one 2-month long celebration at this point) Easter is my favorite holiday. It's like the peak of the most wonderful time of the year; Spring is in full swing, and the restorative effects of warmer weather, sunshine, and flowers start to show up everywhere, from the produce section of the grocery store, to the fabrics and designs in all the retailer's window fronts. Which brings me to the point of today's post.

Maybe it's a frivolous tradition, but every year I like to get a new dress for Easter Sunday. In past years, it's usually been something simple and sweet, probably picked up from the thrift store. I don't usually spend a ton of money on an Easter dress: as long as it's pretty and summery and elegant, I'm happy. Each year's Easter Dress then becomes my go-to Summer Event Dress, and I'll wear it for the rest of the season: so it works out pretty well! My main prerogatives are that it has to be comfortable, breezy (by Easter Sunday in the south, we can be having up-to-80-degree days!) but still warm enough for church (because they always blast the air conditioning...you guys. does your church do this too??). I like to go for something bright, or floral, or pastel, naturally. ;)

I haven't picked one yet this year...there are so many gorgeous dresses out there right now, and I'm definitely being both picky and cheap (#retailproblems), but to be honest I'd happily wear any of these! So in case you too are poking around for an Easter dress, I linked up several of my favorites (at multiple price points, because I know budgets are real life for more of us than not). I can't wait to share what I land on in the end! 

Which is your favorite? Have you found your Easter dress yet? Is your church freezing in the summer? 
(I need to know.) (Just kidding.) (Kinda.)
Design by Bethany. All images and text displayed here (C) Carmel Elizabeth 2010-16, unless otherwise stated. Please do not steal.