Goodbye 2017

white flowers.jpg

I almost didn't get this post up. I know I haven't been around much these past few months, and while I wish I could blame it on the weather (though single digit temps don't help) it really just comes down to me, and the low I've been going through.

It's not easy to talk about the low points, especially in this space, where there is an imagined pressure to only ever be positive. I don't talk about my depression or anxiety, and when self doubt is addressed, it's usually in the self-deprecating-but-trying-to-be-funny kind of way.

Normally in this post I would look though all the posts of this past year and choose my favorites for each month. My best outfits, fun places visited, good times that make me smile. But when I looked back at 2017 I felt like all I saw were fake smiles hiding discomfort and uncertainty.

Back in September Sean and I broke up, and I've since moved back in with my parents as I can't afford anywhere else. After living together for two years I told him I wanted to get engaged, he told me he did not. So I'm back at square one and have been taking a break from trying to smile even though I'm sad. 

I forgot I'd normally be posting my closet additions for the month today, and while I wish I could say I was good this month and didn't buy anything, that is quite to the contrary. I followed the classic holiday shopping rule of buying a gift and then also getting something for myself. I started with the cozy Loft sweater, then some satin pants from Ann Taylor (half off and free shipping is hard to ignore). Furry loafers at Target, a pair of earrings from Mejuri, and to top it off, $60 blue and white ornaments from Williams Sonoma.

I kind of want to say 'good riddance' to 2017 but I suppose the year wasn't all bad. Certainly not the year I'd wanted or hoped for, but at the end of the day, it was the year I created.

I don't know what 2018 will bring for me or for the blog. Maybe I'll start being more honest instead of only sharing the positive, but hopefully from here things can only go up. 

Friday Five Under $50: Self Care

With Christmas fast approaching, and the list of things to get done seeming to only get longer, it's all too easy to fall into bad habits of staying up too late and over extending. Taking out some time for self care is important, and I think it's okay to treat yourself to a little indulgence. I've been wanting to try out the Sunday Riley cleanser for a while because of its rave reviews, but have been worried about falling into a $45 face wash habit - right now I feel like the $10 I spend on my drugstore brand is already a lot!

I'd also love to try out the Shhhowercap, as someone who doesn't wash their hair everyday, I'd love one that isn't going to get gross and mildew after a few wears, but again, that feels truly like a splurge.

This weekend I plan on giving myself time for a DIY manicure, and I'm booking a facial for next week - I know I haven't wrapped a single gift, still need to finish up my shopping, and have a lot of baking I'd like to do, but I also don't want to lose sight of what is important about the holidays, and let self-imposed demands come before spending time with family and friends or taking care of myself.

Dryel - from Delicates to Denim

This post is written in partnership with Dryel, I was selected to be a brand ambassador for them, but as always, all my views and opinions are my own.

Dryel saves a connectict fashion blogger time and money on her dry clean only clothes

This past month I set a goal for myself, stop letting the chair in my bedroom become piled with clothes in the limbo state of clean enough to wear again, but not clean enough to hang in the closet.

I know 'the chair' is a pretty universal problem, and chair prevention requires constant vigilance. If I come home too late in the evening, clothes are destined for the chair. If I'm having outfit indecision and the rejects end up on the chair, then I forget what was actually clean and what was 'chair clean', and the pile continues to grow. When it comes to denim, I'm of the mindset that it shouldn't really be washed, and as such, it becomes my biggest chair offender.

When I resolved to putting an end to 'the chair', I knew I had a secret weapon, Dryel. I've been a brand ambassador for them this past year, and have come to appreciate how quickly and easily I can refresh my clothes, from my jeans to my delicate knits, without worrying about any shrinking, stretching, or fading. Coming in 2018 Dryel is releasing a brand new formula and starter kit with a scent that lasts even longer, and they've given the official okay to using it with silk and rayon (though to be honest, I had been before and never had any issue).

Now at the end of the day, before I have a chance to let my clothes reach the chair, I pop them in my Dryel bag. After just a 15 minute tumble they are refreshed and deemed ready to be rehung in the closet. If I want to give them a more deep clean, I'll leave them for the full 30 minutes.

Dryel makes my life easier. I love knowing that the lace dress I wore to a wedding isn't going to hang around for months before I remember to bring it to the dry cleaner, and I no longer have to feel skeeved out by wearing jeans that have never seen the inside of a washing machine.

dryel for holidays.jpg

No Time Other Than the Present

In the winter, there is rarely a perfect time for photos. They are taken when a sliver of an opportunity presents itself. The daylight hours are limited, and even as the minutes of sunlight do trickle back, it won't be noticeable for months. So in between errands with a wrinkled blouse, photos are taken, otherwise they won't be taken at all, and another week without posting might go by.

As you can see, all that snow didn't last, but the weathermen are promising a lot more this winter...

CT Fashion Blogger wearing a grey cardigan and silk blouse for winter CT Style blogger wearing a blush silk top, black jeans, boots, grey cardigan-17.jpg CT Style blogger wearing a Suits scotty necklace blush silk top, black jeans, boots, grey cardigan-12.jpg blush silk top, black jeans, boots, grey cardigan-13.jpg blush silk top, black jeans, boots, grey cardigan-16.jpg CT Style blogger wearing a blush silk top, black jeans, boots, grey cardigan-11.jpg
The Rundown
Blush Silk Blouse Max Studio via TJMaxx similar
Black Jeans Old Navy
Boots Migliorini via TJMaxx buy on eBay
Willis Bag Vintage Coach thrifted similar
Grey Cobblestone Cardigan c/o Cabi similar
Necklace "Scottie" LuxbyUK
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry


Snow Bird

Over the weekend we had our first snowfall of the season, and a pretty good one at that! We'd already been planning on getting our tree, and the snow just made the tree farm a little more magical. It also meant we did not take forever deciding which tree we wanted!

A little snow birdie told me this sweater is 40% off at Loft right now, so go scoop it up! I'm wearing a small, so you can see it's definitely meant to have an oversized fit. I kind of wish I'd gotten the extra small, but it is nice to have a super cozy sweater. This was one of the items that made it's way into my cart on Black Friday - I'd spotted it in the store a week prior and just knew I had to have it. I have the biggest weakness for white sweaters.

I can't believe Christmas is just two weeks from today! I still have so much shopping to do, including the gift for my extended family's grab bag. It's not easy to think of a gift that would be good for a guy or a girl age ranging from 26 to 66 and fitting in with a theme of 'warm and cozy'... I wish we'd just do secret santa!

CT Fashion blogger wearing a white sweater, pom pom hat and brown boots in the snow CT Fashion blogger wearing a loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-17.jpg snow covered trees.jpg loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-20.jpg loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-18.jpg CT Fashion blogger wearing a loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-12.jpg loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-16.jpg CT Fashion blogger wearing a loft white sweater, brown leather boots, pom pom hat, tree hunt outfit-14.jpg
The Rundown
Snow Bird Sweater Lou & Grey
Yoga Jeans Second Denim via Coco & Vera's Giveaway
Brown Boots "Mullin Spice" Clarks via eBay
Pom Pom Hat Gap similar
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Nail Color "Bordeaux" Essie


November Budget

I thought I might make it through November without shopping, but a few things were to tempting to resist. I started off the month by replacing my black gloves since I 1. Couldn't remember where I put my old ones at the end of last winter and 2. Did remember that the thumb had busted open at the seam, so perhaps I'd had the good sense to throw them out? Either way they needed replacing and I decided to give a try. What drew me to them was that they are leather touch gloves without the unsightly silver fingertips, every part of the glove can interact with the phone, and they have a cashmere lining. Plus I got them for under $40. I also love they have a magnetic 'clasp' to keep the gloves together when I toss them in my purse.

I also found myself in Banana Republic to finally exchange the dress I got in September for a smaller size. Thankfully there was still one left! Naturally I crossed paths with a rust colored blazer in a thick satin fabric, and since between the sale and my credit card rewards I could walk out the door with it for under $20, it didn't take much to convince myself. I keep saying I should save up my rewards and put them towards one big expensive thing, but that hasn't happened yet.

Twitter is accountable for my next purchase of the month. Here is what happened: a couple years ago I was watching the show Suits on USA. One of the characters was wearing this necklace I was instantly smitten with. Naturally I tweeted a screen capture of the necklace hoping that someone might know the designer. I never managed to trace it's origins, but then I got a message from LuxbyUK saying they'd made a replica of the necklace, and I agreed to purchase it at a discounted price in exchange for a blog post when their new site is up and running.

Lastly, there were a few gifted items. Dressbarn provided me with a $50 gift card to help promote their re-branding as Roz and Ali. I ended up with two pieces and spent $12 over the gift card. Next was a dress from eShakti, who I've worked with in the past and I believe they provide a good value for their customization service. Following that I was provided with some fun pieces from Tobi to style holiday looks, and lastly I ordered a pair of customized shoes from Shoes of Prey with a gift code I'd won in a blog giveaway.

A cyber monday purchase may have went through as well, but I'll wait and see how it works out...

rust satin blazer, floral maxi skirt, gloves, shoes of prey heels

Banana Republic Boyfriend Fit Shiny Blazer, $20 Leather Touch Gloves, $30
Roz & Ali Floral Maxi Skirt, $6 after gift card
Roz & Ali Faux Suede Jacket, $6 after gift card
LuxbyUK Custom "Scottie" Necklace, $60
Shoes of Prey Custom Pumps, won in giveaway
eShakti Graphic Print Wrap Dress, gifted

Holiday Style with Tobi

December is arriving appropriately on a weekend, and starting in full force with events. Party on Friday night, wedding on Saturday, the handful of remaining weekends set to fill up, and let's not forget New Years!

While I could argue the merits of taking just one little black dress from soirée to shindig, there is always that little desire to exploit the holiday affairs and add some fun new pieces to my closet.

Today I'm collaborating with Tobi, the online fast fashion realtor where endless, party-ready, wallet friendly styles can be found. While I try not to make fast fashion a habit, there are certainly occasions when it can be a lot of fun.

First up is this wine colored lace skater dress. It would be perfect for an evening cocktail affair. It has a very open back, and partly unlined front. I thought I might be able to layer cami under it, but it was not going to happen, hence the jacket. I love the color, the shape, and the pretty lace, but I would not recommend this dress to anyone who isn't comfortable going sans bra. For size reference I'm wearing a large.

inexpensive holiday outfits  purple lace dress, black leather jacket, studded pumps-8.jpg purple lace dress, black leather jacket, studded pumps-12.jpg purple lace dress, black leather jacket, studded pumps-11.jpg
The Rundown
Lady Capulet Skater Dress c/o Tobi
Leather Jacket Express similar
Studded Pumps c/o OASAP similar
Tilly Scalloped Clutch Matine
Ojai Cage Ring Gorjana  similar
Nail Color "Caviar Bar" Essie

There is nothing quite like a little black dress for any occasion, though I do feel like this one would be great for going from office to office party. Again, I love a long sleeve on a dress, somehow bare legs are infinitely more tolerable when I've got long sleeves. Small details like the tulip hemline make this piece stand out from the other sheaths. For size reference I'm wearing a large.

black tulip hem dress, nude pumps, scalloped clutch-4.jpg black tulip hem dress, nude pumps, scalloped clutch-6.jpg black tulip hem dress, nude pumps, scalloped clutch.jpg black tulip hem dress, nude pumps, scalloped clutch-5.jpg
The Rundown
There She Goes Bodycon Dress c/o Tobi
Nude Pumps "Natalie" Naturalizer
Tilly Scalloped Clutch Matine
Gold Bon Bon Earrings The Dressing Room Boutique
Stacked Rings Gorjana via TJMaxx similar
Nail Color "Caviar Bar" Essie

Scandalous. That is all I have to say about these split leg pants, and it's worth noting that the slit goes all the way up to the top. I felt like they would be great for NYE paired with a sequined top as well. For size reference I'm wearing a medium, and I had to hem them about three inches so my 5'-2" frame wasn't dragging them behind me.

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The Rundown
Lace Top TJMaxx
Imogen Wide Leg Pant c/o Tobi
Black Pumps "Natalie" Naturalizer
Tilly Scalloped Clutch Matine
Bracelets The Cavernous Jewelry Box
Nail Color "Caviar Bar" Essie

Tobi provided me with these pieces for the purpose of this post. My views and opinions are my own.


Customized with a Click

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, and start to the holiday season. I was so happy when eShakti reached out to me a few weeks ago to customize and style another piece with them. Every piece I've gotten in the past has always been very well made and this dress was no exception.

As soon I spotted this great rust and navy print, I knew right away I'd want to create a dress for Thanksgiving. With eShakti's customization options, I chose to have the dress hemmed to knee length and the sleeves changed from short to long. Those are just a couple of the numerous options available to make sure the garment fits and flatters the actual customer, not just the model in the photo.

Being 5'-2" with a curvy figure has always meant fit challenges, from simple things like hem lengths, to more difficult things like necklines being too low or having a piece which fits my hips being far too loose at the waist. With eShakti, custom measurements can be used to create a perfectly fitting piece.

eShakti challenged me to create a piece that would allow me to 'look as good as I feel, and feel as good as I look', so with that in mind, I chose a wrap dress, the perfect cut to flatter my hourglass figure. By bringing up the hem to knee length I can show off my legs without worrying about anything else being shown off, changing the neckline for a bit more coverage, and having pockets in a dress is always a game changer! The pockets allowed me to keep my phone at hand during Thanksgiving, so I was always ready to snap cute photos of my Nephew and Niece, and my Nephew especially enjoyed leading me around the house by the ties of the dress and pretending I was his doggy.

I'm really excited that eShakti now allows even further customization by offering styles which can be done in a number of different fabrics - and the price points for their custom garments are almost all under $100!

CT Style blogger wearing a custom eShakti wrap dress with a springbok clutch for fall printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-13.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-18.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-16.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-14.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-15.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-17.jpg printed wrap dress, springbok clutch, thanksgiving outfit-12.jpg
The Rundown
Graphic Print Wrap Dress c/o eShakti
Pumps "Gennie" Coach thrifted similar
Springbok Clutch Oliveve c/o Shopbop similar
Stacked Rings Gorjana via TJMaxx similar
Nail Color "Caviar Bar" Essie

Oh To Be A Muse's Lookbook Linkup
By Lauren M's Mix it Monday

eShakti provided me with this dress for the purpose of this post and partaking in their "Look As Good As You Feel, Feel As Good As You Look" campaign. My views and opinions are my own.

Instant Crush: Yellow Gold

I was initially feeling the yellows, but then what is better than yellow, but a deep, rich, mustardy gold?
It's autumnal and party perfect, maybe even a touch ostentatious, but when used just right, couldn't it be the perfect standout piece?

Shoulder Bag, $28 at H&M
Satin Block Heels, $83 at Ann Taylor
Bermuda Shorts, $40 at Zara
Vanessa Mooney Earrings, $22 at Shopbop
Satin Loafer, $108 at Banana Republic
Velvet Skirt, $90 at J.Crew

Over the Knee Boots with Jeans

What a change in temperature from my last post to this one! Things you aren't seeing as I try to preserve the notion of a fall outfit: gloves, hat, and heavy winter coat. But at least I've got my over the knee boots to keep me warm, and I'm collaborating again with J's Touch of Style, this time we are styling our over the knee boots with jeans.

I can't believe we are basically a week away from Thanksgiving already! I think mentally I'm still two months behind, and I've not even come close to adjusting to the time change. When it's dark at 5 p.m. I feel like I just want to be in for the night at 6! I think I'm probably one of the few people who dislikes the arrival of fall, but looks forward for the first day of winter, because I know that after December 21st the days will be getting longer again, and I'll take every minute I can get.

The Rundown
Lace Cami H&M similar
Black Cardigan Gap similar
Yoga Jeans Second Denim via Coco & Vera's Giveaway
Grey Over the Knee Boots Ivanka Trump similar
Huntley Tote c/o Joie similar
Modern Rings Pendant Necklace Banana Republic
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx