style files // neutrals

top: vince // denim: gap // heels: saks black label (similar) // bag: prada // necklaces: layered + long (save 10% off with code SWANKY10)


lust list and giveaway winner

Here are my picks from the 40% off sale that Gap and Banana Republic are having (ends tonight!). Yes, that's 40% off your entire purchase with code BIGTIME. Plus, free shipping on all orders over $50 and free returns! I'm having a dilemma over all of the fantastic shoes. No but for real, you've gotta see.

As for the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cube Set giveaway, the lucky winner is Entry #142: Kelly C. Congratulations, Kelly! You will LOVE them.


shelf styling refresh 101

Before I say anything at all, the photos in this feature should have a dining room table in them, but I sold ours and we are still on the hunt for a new one, so that's why it's so empty! 

Something I love to do is to re-style my shelves and various vignettes throughout our home. I do it all the time. It's like I have home decor ADD. I get restless when I see decor styled one particular way for too long. So you can imagine the anxiety that this giant wall of shelves has brought me. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love built-ins, but that's a lot of shelves to style and the fact that it's divided into cubes makes it awkward sometimes. If I'm not careful when styling, the shelves start to look like a grid since it's a whole bunch of square spaces. Every little cubby needs to be different than it's neighbor. The struggle is real.

When restyling a shelf, your nightstand, or any type of decor grouping, there's no need to go out and purchase all new things. You can get a new look by just rearranging. That said, whenever I'm in Homegoods or TJ Maxx and I see a fabulous decor object, I snag it without even thinking. That's my absolute favorite place to find little treasures for great prices. In fact, probably almost half of the things seen in these photos are from one of those stores!

I always start by removing everything away from a space so that I'm starting with a blank canvas. So I cleared these shelves and thought long and hard about cleaning them (what better time?)...

...but instead I lit a candle, turned on Lorde Pandora (Brandon said it sounded like he was shopping in Urban Outfitters), and got to work.

I always start by working the area as a whole. In other words, I don't work little section by little section, moving forward when each part is complete. Instead, I add an object here and an object there, all across the entire area. This ensures that there will be cohesion throughout the entire space being styled.

Oh look, there's the Winster!

And just when you think you're getting close to being finished...

...things change. Keep moving around decor pieces until you're satisfied. At this point, it may require a new Pandora station.

Et voilĂ !

A very subtle change. Just the slightest bit more put together, cohesive, and tidy.

A few final thoughts in this (very elementary) 101 session...
Little gold accents are always a good idea. They are great book-toppers and perfect displayed on their own, as well! I got my brass urchin from a small shop in Beaufort (it was the last one!), but Target has something similar and for a steal.
 Books are a great way to bring in little touches of color without being too, well, colorful. I buy all of my coffee table books from Amazon because you can snag them brand new for 20-50% off of cover price.

Some books like to be stacked horizontally, some like to stand up side by side. Mix it up. On that same note... vary the height of all objects, books or not. It adds dimension.

Stick to a theme. Place objects of similar style, shape, and/or color together in groups of three or five. Oh, and when you find a great blue and white vase, just buy it. Don't ask questions. Just do it.
Vary the textures of your objects. Create an unexpected element by mixing hard and shiny accessories with rough and natural ones.


crazy good beauty deals

We all love Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale. It's a great time to stock up on current season's styles, nice boots and handbags, as well as high priced coats. But one thing I haven't heard as much about are the BEAUTY EXCLUSIVES! The sales are good, y'all. Just take a look at my faves. 

(This is a clickable image! Just click each item (or click the + sign, if it appears!) to be directed to product page.)


how to pack a carry on (and a giveaway!)

I decided to pack solely in a carry-on for my trip to Chicago. I used the Delsey Hyperlite 20.5-in. Spinner (love!) and my beloved Lo & Sons OG bag. I was only there for three days, so really, there was no reason I couldn't fit it all in these two easy-to-manage bags. But to be completely honest, I have not always been a light packer. In fact, I've been known to pack way more than necessary for just about every trip I've ever taken. So let's just say that scaling down to just the essentials hasn't come naturally.

In packing my carry on, I didn't really have to sacrifice the amount of clothes I wanted to take. I didn't have to mix and match outfits. Instead, I just learned how to pack more efficiently. And those are the tips I'm sharing with you today.

Tissue paper will help decrease wrinkles in your clothes because it gives the fabric a slippery surface. Lay down a piece of tissue paper, then set your clothing item on top. Just roll (or fold) the tissue paper and the clothing together. This drastically reduces wrinkles, but I always pack a travel size of Downy Wrinkle Releaser just in case. (That stuff + a hair dryer will work wonders on wrinkly clothing!)

This is something I just did for the first time and let me tell you, I will never not do this. It made packing more organized and made my trip itself easier. No more shuffling trying to find the right top to go with the right skirt. Each coordinating top and the bottom was packaged neatly in a one gallon size Ziploc bag.

Where have gear ties been all my life? They are inexpensive, reusable, and completely take away that overwhelming sea of cords that I know you've all experienced. 

I used the Travelon Jewelry Roll to organize my jewelry. Enough said about that. It rolls up neatly and the see-through pockets are really handy when in a rush.
This is a great way to keep small jewelry pieces organized. You can just tuck the pill organizer into one of the pockets and off you go! 

That's right. They also keep your necklaces from getting tangled. (These fit perfectly in the jewelry roll!)

Scour the travel section at Target. There is a whole lot of good going on in there. This travel sized razor is one of my favorite purchases of the year. No really, it is. As is this teeny tiny wet brush. When I travel, I always use baby powder as my dry shampoo because a little of this goes further than dry shampoo and it's a smaller package. 

Some of the things up above aren't free samples, but you get the picture. I always hang on to free samples I receive, whether it's from a makeup counter (like the foundation!) or little packets that I've received free with a purchase. I also hang on to nicer hotel toiletries and reuse them for my next trip (or I just reuse the bottle, like I did with the Aveda lotion). 
*Side note- I ended up not taking the lotion and the two reusable shampoo/conditioner bottles because I remembered that W hotels have Bliss toiletries and I didn't want to miss out on using those!

I always save shower caps when they are included with hotel toiletries. Why? They are the perfect shoe covers! 

It's always nice to use a clear pouch for packing travel essentials. Keep it within easy reach and rest assured knowing that all contents are visible for easy grab-and-go. My favorite is this TSA-approved small Clarity Clutch from TRUFFLE.

Seems simple (or maybe unnecessary?), but packing cubes really make a difference in suitcase organization. Inside, I stack the Ziploc bags that contain each outfit. But here's the game changer... In one packing cube, I put all daytime outfits. In one cube, I put all nighttime outfits (this one isn't pictured above). In one cube I put pajamas and lounge clothes. I use the smallest cube for undergarments. 
...and now you all have a chance to win the exact set of these Eagle Creek Packing Cubes shown above! Enter below for your chance to win! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Piperlime 20% Off // My Picks

Save 20% off your Piperlime purchase with code FALL20. Ends 7/22! Here are my picks:

Chicago Recap

Where to begin... where to begin? Chicago was beautiful. If you're new around here, you may not know that I am a beauty editor for The Everygirl, a website set to inspire career-driven women in all facets of life - travel, living, fashion, food, career & finance, wellness, and of course, beauty. I started this position in January (or was it February?) and since that time, haven't had the opportunity to meet any of my teammates ...until this past week. 

Being able to fly to Chicago for the first time and to meet ten amazing and talented women was incredible. Not only was I experiencing a new city (that I absolutely fell in love with, by the way), but I was able to do it with women who inspire me. It was a quick trip and grrr... such a tease! I can't wait to go back for a longer period of time and enjoy more restaurants and do the things all of you recommended.

Let's start with the hotel. We stayed at the W Lakeshore which was perfect because it gave this first-timer a perfect view of Lake Michigan and the cityscapes. The hotel was recently renovated and trust me, the end result is stunning. I took snaps of my room as soon as I got there because well, somehow tiny bags of luggage have the ability to expand five times their size and that's not pretty in photos. These are iPhone photos, by the way. My DSLR just didn't make the Chicago cut since I only traveled with a carry on (tips on how I pack light on the blog tomorrow!).

Nice toiletries make me happy.
 This was the view from my room -the window was the whole length of the back wall!

...and this is the view from the other side of the hotel. Ok, I had no idea the water was going to be so BLUE! It was gorgeous.

I wasted literally no time at all before running out of the hotel and straight to Michigan Avenue. I was only a few blocks away, so it was perfect for me. I've heard that Chicago is such a great city because of how clean it is. That rumor was definitely true. Everything looked so well maintained. I do realize I was only in one part of the city, but I was impressed. I especially loved all of the landscaping within the sidewalks -tons of little parks, beautiful trees, and lots of flower beds.
The architecture was gorgeous! 

And then there was shopping. I found something I really, really love.

After a lot (I repeat, a LOT) of walking, I was starving. Suddenly, it was as if the Heavens opened up and I smelled the most amazing smell in the world... Garrett Popcorn Shop

I got a (huge) bag of Chicago mix, went back to my room and naturally, put on their cozy white robe, sat by the window, and chowed down.

I got ready for dinner, where I met about half of The Everygirl team (those who came in on Wednesday vs. Thursday) at Current, the restaurant at the hotel. Their executive chef, Gregory Elliott, prepared a tasting of wines and amazing food for us. We definitely had over ten items from the menu on the table for us all to sample and by the end, I almost needed to be wheeled out! It was all so, so good.
At the end of our meal, we were able to see the fireworks at the Navy Pier. That was exciting for me since I didn't have time to see the Pier up close and personal. Made me feel like I experienced at least part of it.

I don't have photos of the actual restaurant, but it's right inside the lobby of the hotel, pictured below.
The next one was taken on Friday afternoon. This bar area had a "trendy, upscale diner" vibe.

That was all just one day's worth! Now, moving on to Thursday, which was spent solely with TEG team. Lots and lots of planning went on at this table.

...and with all good meetings, there's good food. For lunch, we had deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's and woahh- obsessed doesn't even cut it. Naturally, there was local beer and it, too, was delish.

Later that night, we headed out to Beatrix, a restaurant where the philosophy is "a healthier take on comfort food." That philosophy basically defines my life and general goal when preparing foods at home, by the way. The open-air atmosphere was great and the food, seriously out of this world.

Here's a few of us before dinner.

On Friday, I got to spend the morning walking around this amazing city, trying to take in every last bit I could before my flight. 

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