Almost-Winter Wedding Attire

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I love a good wedding, no matter the time of year! This LC Lauren Conrad dress has served me well through all of the seasons, and transitions into winter well with some opaque tights.

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If it happens to be chilly, it's simply the perfect excuse to wear my vintage capelet. And a shot of color with my vintage green clutch.

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I love the details here...you can't quite see the velvet bow above my side bun, my 1920s-ish earrings, and the wooden heel on the Missoni for Target pumps. 

Yay for weddings! Such a fun excuse to get dressed up and celebrate all things lovely.


Christmas Dreaming A Little Early

"So I'm doing, my Christmas dreaming, a little early this yearrrrrrr..." 

I couldn't resist these beautiful diamonds from Anjolee jewelry when they sent me their website and asked me to review it. So here are some lovely diamond choices should a loved one be looking to gift you with something sparkly this year. If so, you're in luck, scroll to the end of the post for a discount. If not, do some dreaming with me about Christmas party outfits with extra sparkle! 

Here are three outfits I'd simply LOVE to wear to holiday parties this year...or to find under the Christmas tree! 

This is my absolute favorite outfit and SO perfect for the holidays. Then wear it again at Valentine's Day, of course! The skirt, the bow shoes, and a simple top...to die for. The unexpected? Lip print, of course. So very Schiaparelli

This is such a grown-up outfit and I love the luxe textures and details. Nothing like leather pants, leopard print booties and a sumptuous top and clutch for the holidays. The unexpected? Leather pants at a cocktail party. Daring, darling!

This is so cute and party-perfect. I'd love to wear this for my birthday in January! Ladylike and lovely. The unexpected? Arrive with a black cape to top it all off. Oolala.


Anjolee also has customizable Gemstone bracelets that make great Christmas presents too! 
AND as a special treat, here is a code for 5 percent off your purchase (since we're talking high prices here, this discount is totally worth it): Anjolee5
(these are NOT affiliate links)

Here's to a fun and festive holiday season and hopefully a little something sparkly!

Which outfit is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!


Sale Shout: Amazing Boots & Leggings Deal Today Only


Cents of Style always has great deals on Fashion Friday, but this one takes the cake! If you're looking for some great black moto-style boots to give your winter wardrobe some extra sass, this deal is for you! Fashion Friday- Boot & Leggings Combo- $29.95 & FREE SHIPPING w/ Code COMBO

Did you hear that? Boots that are normally $40 regularly, are now $30 with a free pair of leggings thrown in and free shipping. DONE AND DONE, am I right? But you'd better grab yours fast as I'm sure this deal will sell out!


The boots are a black distressed ankle boot in a bit of a moto style. The have a zipper up the back and fit a half size big for sure. So, if you wear an 8, buy a 7.5. They have been one of Cents of Style's most popular styles. The leggings are a textured cable knit, in a solid color with FLEECE lining (so amazing!). They come in about 10 colors. They are one size fits most, 0-12. 




To get the  Fashion Friday- Boot & Leggings Combo- $29.95 & FREE SHIPPING w/ Code COMBO deal: Add a pair of the leggings of your choice and the boot size of your choice to the cart. Enter the coupon code COMBO at check out and the price will drop to $29.95. This deal cannot be combined with any other offer and is while supplies last. 



Movie Style: Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday


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Princess Anne, played by Audrey Hepburn, escapes her royal guards and spends the day cavorting around Rome in the classic Hollywood black-and-white movie, "Roman Holiday." It's one of my favorites, and it's currently available on Netflix.

 The iconic "Princess on Holiday" outfit still works today, because all of its elements are classic pieces for an elegant wardrobe. Here are some ideas for how to recreate this look for everyday wear or for something a bit more special. This also makes a great Halloween costume, probably with items you already own.

The elements are simple, but the look comes together to look fresh and vibrant. The canvas of a plain white oxford gains personality from the sleeves being rolled and the collar popped.

Of course a smile and bright red lips are necessary accoutrements, because, as Audrey herself says, "Happy girls are the prettiest." And I quite agree. Then, you'll need some Roman sandals, the very first thing Princess Anne purchases on her day of freedom in the movie. 

Roman Holiday Sandals
Ancient Greek Sandals gold leather sandals / Loeffler Randall real leather shoes / Isolá lace up wedge sandals / House of Harlow 1960 leather ankle strap sandals / Ancient Greek Sandals real leather shoes

The full midi skirt is making a comeback, perfect for this "Roman Holiday" style. Be sure to find one with a belt or add a belt after. Here are some examples...

Roman Holiday Full Skirts with BeltsLong midi skirt / Red skirt / Brown skirt / Gucci high waisted skirt / Cameo Rose brown skirt / Golden Goose circle skirt

That's all that is required for this easy and delightful style. But I'm always up for a variation on a theme, so I took the Princess-off-duty look and transformed it into a Princess-ON-duty look, suitable for a fancy occasion. The elements are similar, but the fabrics and details have been elevated. Of course, rolled sleeves and a popped collar will add to the effect here, too.


Roman Holiday: Variation on a Theme
Yves Saint Laurent collared shirt/ Topshop mid calf skirt / Jimmy Choo lace-up sandals / Pre-Owned Celine Canvas Mini Luggage / BCBGMAXAZRIA gold tone collar necklace / H M wide belt / Isadora pink lips makeup


                                                                                      theend150x

Elsa Schiaperelli: A Shocking Life

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review.

Have you ever heard of Elsa Schiaparelli? If you're in the fashion world, the answer is probably yes. In her time, Schiaparelli was a more famous couturier than Chanel, her contemporary. She is perhaps most famous for her invention of the color "Shocking Pink" and the corresponding "Shocking" perfume. Her inventive clothing designs captured the spirit of the times and the art movement of Surrealism at the time (she was a great friend of Dali's), becoming art themselves. Giant lobsters skirted the bottom of dresses, and don't forget the parsley sprinkled here and there, on a dress worn by Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, in her wedding trousseau. Buttons were foreign coins, giant bugs, or other strange ideas. Her clothes were expandable, sometimes even three-in-one, or featured unique hidden pockets, trompe l'oeil details, or fabrics of her own creation.

Schiaperelli's 1937 Lobster Dress, designed with Salvador Dali, 
currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

But before Schiaparelli was a famous couturier, she had a unique and perhaps upsetting life, one that set her up for her surrealist escapades and her utterly unique entree into the fashion world. She learned business lessons by hard scrapes, had a disabled daughter with a conniving husband she later divorced,  and somehow made her way into the top tier of Paris fashion. The second World War saw her star waning, perhaps due to a nagging interest the FBI had in her whereabouts (was she a spy? we may never know). Schiaparelli lost her footing in the fashion world, but her legacy continues today with inventions such as the wraparound dress, dresses with matching dinner jackets, swimsuits with built-in bras and the ahead-of-her-time split skirts. And, of course, her call of "Dare to be different!" and that ever-so-lovely shocking pink.

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This lovely book, a tome to be admired and set on a dressing table, is a triumph of the story of the shocking and madcap dress designer, none other than Madame Schiaparelli.

A dash of the unexpected, indeed!


Happy Reading!
Natalie 

Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women

{This book was provided by BookLook Bloggers for my honest review}

It's a rainy day here. Quiet, gray, begging for quiet time with my Bible and an English Breakfast Tea Latte.

I've been needing a new everyday Bible. My old one is literally from elementary school and falling apart, loved as it is. The only other Bible I currently have is a travel version with my name on it that was a gift, and I cherish it, but find it a bit cumbersome for regular reading. So when I saw this lovely edition with real-life devotions by Lysa Terkeurst and the team at Proverbs 31 Ministries, I was super excited. I adore Lysa and Proverbs 31 Ministries. (you should SERIOUSLY follow them on Facebook...their posts are always timely!)

This NIV Bible is a Compact size, which is the size of a larger paperback book, bigger than my travel version but small enough to tuck into my purse. The embossed leather and smooth leather in lovely robin's egg blue and a deep turquoise are stunning. The pages have silver edges and blue pages for the devotionals. There are 365 devotionals throughout the book, one for every day. The devotions are focused on family and children, but the lessons are applicable to everyone. 

This Bible would make an absolutely lovely gift or a gift to yourself. It's a real beaut, and so is the box, a perfect box to keep cards or notes in.

Do you have a hardcover or softcover Bible? 
This is actually my first softcover one!
xo
Natalie

Lavender and Wine

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I simply canNOT stop wearing this orchid merino wool sweater with gold shoulder zips from J.Crew.  It's a bit drapey, but with fitted sleeeves and the nice side vents to give it shape. Perfect color for autumn, don't you think? I love this orchid color with navy, wine (as my boots are), chocolate brown, olive green, deep golden yellow, and tan, like my hat. Such luscious combinations!

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I've said before there are about 2 days each year where the shorts-and-boots combo actually works, and this was the fall day! Wool shorts are a unique specimen in and of themselves...because they're, well...WOOL. SHORTS. I mean...
But I did get compliments on the shorts, and I think they're super cute with boots. 

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Fall is the absolute perfect time for all of my wool hats, including this gem from American Eagle, believe it or not. I love its curvy 70's-style brim that highlights sunglasses just perfectly. And the bright bangles and earrings are from J.Crew, too, and add a fun pop of contrast to this outfit.

Have you ever worn shorts with boots? What do you think of the combination?

xo
Natalie

Nuts & Bolts: Open Enrollment #benefitsmatter




Grab a cup of coffee! Let's talk health insurance...

I like to occasionally talk about the more "Nuts & Bolts" aspects of life...frugal february, budgeting, and the like. So, along with Alfac, a Fortune 500 insurance company, I wanted to share some of my personal tips on how to get the most out of open enrollment season for health care plans. I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with the options and paperwork. It can be a tricky business to navigate, and Millenials are statistically less likely to be prepared. Here are a few of my tips (with my boyfriend's help!) on how to save for and make a good decision during health care open enrollment time.

Low- vs. High-Deductible Plans
I know health care can be expensive no matter how you slice it, and it's tempting to go for the cheapest monthly-cost plan. While this may be good for your budget in the short run, it could leave you high and dry should something come up (and that's the point of insurance, right, in case something comes up?). I personally prefer to budget more each month, knowing that I'm well-covered and wouldn't need to scramble to find several thousand dollars out-of-pocket for a higher-deductible plan at an already stressful time. If you do go for a higher-deductible plan, check out an HSA to go with it (see below).

Cross Your T's and Dot Your I's
It might seem dull, but it's important to read the fine print of all the available plans. You'll want to make sure your hospital of choice and the physician of your choice are "in-network," meaning you won't have to pay extra to visit them. Take a look at co-pays, prescription coverage and ER visit coverage. These will vary by plan, so find your priorities and try to balance them with your budget. For instance, if you have a lot of prescriptions, good coverage is important. If you have kids and envision ER visits in your future, good ER coverage is important, too. Of course, no insurance is perfect, but at least you'll know you're getting the best for your particular circumstance.

Consider an HSA
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a great way to supplement whatever health care plan you choose, particularly high-deductible plans and for people with families. The savings account (you generally set these up through your bank or your employer) allows you to set aside money for everyday medical expenses, everything from Band-Aids to eyeglasses. You get to keep this money and it can be incredibly useful to have socked away should you need to cover an expense that doesn't meet your deductible.   If you put $25 a pay period (assuming a bi-weekly pay period) into your HSA, you'd have $2,600 at the end of the year to help meet medical expenses that might come up. Aflac's post about how most of us are "One Emergency Away from Financial Data" shows the numbers and why an HSA may be a good idea. One emergency could greatly damage your credit and financial future.

Don't Forget Incentives
Once you've chosen your plan, don't forget to take advantage of incentives. Some plans will give you a discount if you don't smoke, plan to quit smoking, get a dental or eye exam, commit to regular exercise, etc. It can be easy to forget about these, so don't let them slip through your fingers! Also don't forget to take advantage of free physicals or other health screenings your insurance might offer. Preventative care is best!


Now it's time to go for a walk! Love me some crunchy leaves, the crisp fall air, and feeling of accomplishment for those pesky "grown-up" things like health insurance. Plus a walk is healthy for ya ;) 


Even if you're young and healthy, I personally think insurance is an important investment. Health can so easily be taken for granted, but if it fails, you won't want to be stressed about finances. So take your time this open enrollment season to take control of your health and future. And please note this is all based on my own experience and I am not a professional. Be sure to fully investigate your options before making a decision.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Book Review: Once-a-Day Chronological Bible

provided for my honest review by BookLook Bloggers

The NIV Once-a-Day Bible, Chronological Edition, is one of my new favorite things! 

My boyfriend and I had been talking about reading the Bible chronologically for awhile now as a way to refresh our reading of the Bible and bring new perspective. We've also been looking for a devotion to do together, so when I had the opportunity to grab this once-a-day version, I knew it would be perfect for his birthday. We've been greatly enjoying reading together nightly. 

I will admit the readings can be a bit long each day, but you're reading the whole Bible in a year, so it's to be expected. I particularly enjoy the "reflection" section after each daily reading. 
It's fascinating to be reading the Bible in chronological order, so if you haven't tried this, I recommend it so far for sure. The once-a-day version makes it easy to stay on track. And the readings are merely numbered, not dated, so no need to feel guilty if you miss a day. I do wish they had a hardcover edition, but that's a minor detail. Overall, a great Bible to have in your house because of its useful and unique set-up. 

Have you ever read the Bible chronologically? What did you think?

Happy Reading, 
Natalie 



Fascinator Giveaway with Vivo Masks-CLOSED


Exciting News!

I'm so thrilled that Vivo is letting me give away a fascinator to one of my lovely readers! This is the perfect opportunity for entree into the fun world of wearing hats and fascinators!

 I'm giving away one of the under-$50 fascinators (the winner's choice!), which are smaller and more manageable for wearing to Thanksgiving, a school dance, a holiday party, or a birthday. Or even just because, if you're like me! Vivo has an amazing selection and I'm sure you'll find one you're in love with! Here are some of my favorites...

Favorite VIVO fascinators under $50

I think the hot pink one is my most-favorite. How about you?

Please enter and share!
 I'm so excited for this opportunity for another lovely lady to wear a Vivo fascinator.
Entry closes at midnight EST on Monday, October 13th.

Something Fascinating: What a Hat Can Do For a Girl

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(fascinator provided to me by Vivo Masks in exchange for my honest review)

There is just *something* about wearing a hat or fascinator. Something utterly delightful and intriguing, don't you think? It's unique, it's vintage, ever-so Princess-y, and entirely fun for the wearer and those who may admire the lovely hat or fascinator perched on her head.

Pin This Image: Hover and click the pink heart to pin any image.

What can a fascinator do for a girl? Here are 4 of the many things: 

*A fascinator can bring interest and attention to your face, to highlight your natural bone structure and stunning eyes.

*A fascinator can show off your beautiful hair by adorning it with something special.

*A fascinator can visually balance your shape or outfit with a nice little lifting of the eye upwards.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least: 

*A fascinator is a most beguiling way to show off your personality and sartorial flair.

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It's funny to me that these days we think it takes great courage to wear a giant flower on the side of one's head, and perhaps it does, but just a generation ago, hats were a daily ritual for women. One I'm sad our culture as a whole has abandoned. Not I! It's a ritual I enjoy greatly and am thrilled to show you my new favorite beauty, the Faith fascinator from Vivo Masks.

This is truly, truly a handmade work of art, with delicately ruched silk, horsehair and feathers. I simply had to take some more artistic shots to show you the delicate beauty of Faith: 

So ethereal.

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Utterly delightful to behold with the golden morning light behind it.

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Here you can see the beautiful ruched silk on the disc and the vintage velvet polka-dot veiling. 

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What a cheerful and uplifting thing. Vivo calls it a "sensation" and I'm quite inclined to agree! BEYOND fun! One might think a giant pink flower would be difficult to wear, but I find it just the opposite. The delicate nature means that the hat itself won't overwhelm an outfit. I can envision this with a black silk jumpsuit, a little white or cream suit dress, and any simple black dress.

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Vivo Masks and Fascinators is based out of Traverse City, Michigan (and Canada) which tickles me pink. I love that this hat company has Midwestern roots, like me. Their hats are all handmade in Europe, and their Venetian party masks are handmade in Italy.

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I was also very excited to get to wear some of my vintage glove collection with this outfit. Little lace gloves and pure white leather ones that I said are, "Like wearing marshmallows on my hands," because these are the descriptors I come up with and they are SO.SOFT.

I'm also wearing some sentimental light-pink pearls that were given to me by my parents on the occasion of my first ballet company performance when I was a teenager. Pearl earrings as well, another gift, to complement the necklace. 

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The cotton brocade (imagine, it isn't shiny!) dress is a lovely foil for the hat...the texture grounds the delicate nature of the feather flower, but the simple shape and straps don't distract.
The coat is one of my favorite pieces, a Rebecca Taylor gray jersey, silk and sequin jacket that hugs nicely. And the boots are my beloved wine suede wedges from Steve Madden.

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Just be sure your hat is properly affixed or you may end up with a wilting flower! ;)
 However, I knocked this off my head myself (I'm graceful like that), but extensive wear testing shows the elastic stays
tight and neat in place for long periods of time and activity.


What's that, you say? You'd like to try your hand (head?) at wearing a fascinator? Yes, please!
We're having a GIVEAWAY for any under-$50 fascinator of your choice, starting Monday!
Check back then for your chance to win.

Happy weekend!
xo
Natalie 

Happy Fall!

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It has been a beautiful first few days of fall here! I love being able to wear my favorite boots and a few layers or heavier materials (such as this lovely alpaca sweater, one of my favorite fall pieces).

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These are all classic pieces that combine to make an outfit that is both timeless and modern, with the addition of a fun, colorful necklace and some details like wedges and zippers on the boots and bell sleeves on the sweater. I've had the Coach belt since high school!

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Big sunglasses are always a must, and a Cafe Americano can go a long way towards making a beautiful day, too.

Sweater: Catherine Melandrino//Jeans: Joe's Jeans//Sunnies: Local boutique//Necklace: Urban Outfitters forever ago//Belt: Coach, forever ago//Boots: Steve Madden

Happy Fall, my friends!
xo
Natalie

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