Monday, June 26, 2017

3 Summer Outfits for Every Occasion and Every Budget + 40% Off Code

I've been been working hard to put together a summer wardrobe, and I'm excited to partner again with thredUP to help do that without breaking the bank!

thredUP is such a good resource to help you fill out your closet with quality pieces while maintaining a good budget.  It's the largest online second-hand store which buys and sells like-new and new-with-tags items at a fraction of the retail price.  thredUP carries brands like J.Crew, LOFT, Lucky Brand, brands from Nordstrom, Anthropologie, plus higher end brands like Paige Denim--all for up to 90% off retail!

thredUP challenged me to shop their site and create three outfits at three different budgets: $25, $50, and $100.  It was honestly was sooooo easy because of how good the savings are on thredUP.  Since most of my outfits were well under each of those price points, I thought it'd be fun to also create three outfits for three separate occasions: everyday casual, business casual, and parties or attending a wedding!  I'm still in disbelief that I scored pieces from some of my favorite stores and saved $638.06 off retail!!  Here are my outfits:

printed dress + denim vest + white accessories
printed dress + denim vest + white sneakers + white earrings
printed dress + denim vest + white sneakers
Casual Everyday - $25 Outfit
I adore this printed dress from Old Navy!  It fits me perfectly, isn't see-through, is lightweight, and kept me cool on a pretty warm day.  I paired it with a denim vest and my favorite pair of white sneakers in today's look, but I've also done it with a vest and sandals.  

Old Navy Printed Dress: $35 retail; $14.99 thredUP (c/o)

orange skirt + white blouse + nude pumps
orange skirt + white blouse + denim jacket
Business Casual Outfit for Summer
Business Casual - $50 Outfit
This was well under $50, as the top and skirt were less than $32 combined.  The white blouse was brand new with tags still on, and since H&M doesn't have sales often, thredUP was a great place to find new H&M items at a discount!

I paired the white blouse with this gorgeous and vibrant skirt from J.Crew that was like-new!  I shop regularly at J.Crew Factory, but never shop at J.Crew because of the prices.  However, because of thredUP, my collection of J.Crew items is growing since they are so affordable there!

J.Crew Skirt: $98 retail; $17.99 thredUP (c/o)
H&M Blouse (new with tags): $24.95 retail; $13.99 thredUP (c/o)

Summer Wedding Guest Outfit
polka dot dress + colorful heels + gold accessories
Outfit for Summer Wedding
Wedding Guest Outfit - Summer Wedding Attire
Party or Wedding Guest - $100 Outfit
You guys.  Savings on thredUP were so good that I couldn't even come close to spending $100 on one outfit if I wanted to.  I looked for fancy brand name cocktail dresses that were more expensive, and this polka dot one from J.Crew Factory was my favorite--but it was only $27.99!  And it was BRAND NEW WITH TAGS!  WHAAAT??  Perhaps I failed the challenge by not even coming close to $50 or $100 outfits, but I scored a fantastic dress, so whatever!  :P

I paired this gorgeous dress with my red pumps and party clutch!

J.Crew Factory Dress: $83 retail; $27.99 thredUP (c/o)

Code for 40% Off
thredUP is offering PMT readers a special discount!  The first 100 people to use the code PMT40 will get an extra 40% off their first order!  (Applies to new U.S customers only.  Discount up to $50.)  Start shopping HERE!

More posts with thredUP:

Huge thanks to thredUP for sponsoring this post!

Friday, June 23, 2017

REVIEWS: Summer Dresses, Shorts, and More

I've been hard at work trying to get a handle on my summer wardrobe.  It's the least developed part of my closet, but this year I'm determined to have an intentional, remixable collection of summer clothes.  With that comes a ton of shopping, so here are a bunch of reviews!  

For size reference, I'm 5'6" with a short torso and typically S/M or 6/8.  I wear size 8.5 to 9 in shoes.

White Denim Shorts - size 28
I've mentioned a time or two how much I hate shorts, but I'm determined to have a decent collection of shorts that I don't hate.  My go-to *would be* Old Navy, except most of their shorts have far too much material at the crotch area for me.  Typically other shorts are either too short, and/or the leg holes are too tight around my thighs.

I think I found a winner with these shorts from J.Crew Factory!  I got them during a huge sale.  They're 4" when cuffed as shown above, and 5" if you unroll the cuff.  They are very soft and have stretch in them, aka comfy!  The rise is just under 9" in front, and the leg opening for size 28 is 12.75" across when laid flat.  They actually give me room around my thighs--whew!  If you're unsure how wide you want the leg opening on shorts, go measure a pair of yours that either fit well or are just too tight and use those as a reference for how these would compare.

I'm typically size 6/8 and got these in 28.  Also, please note that the blue wash denim shorts that look like they should be just as comfy as these white pair (THESE) are NOT.  They are NOT soft or flexible.  They're super stiff and uncomfortable!

Find the white shorts HERE.

Denim Vest - size S
This is for my girl Kelli who requested denim vest reviews!  I've not tried many denim vests, but the handful that I have tried have usually been too big for me, whereas I want a nice cropped look all around.  I thought I was already sizing down here by going with S, but it was still too big.  First, the middle column that's left when open isn't as open as I want it to be.  Likewise, the collar area was too closed and felt a little suffocating.  Also, on the right side above you can see there's a lot of extra room in the bust for me.

Typically with jackets, not vests, I would want some room in the bust, I'd want my shoulders to line up perfectly with the shoulder seams, and I'd want room in the sleeves to layer over long sleeved tops.  With denim vests, I'm learning that I probably want them a size smaller than I'd normally do with jackets.  I don't need to worry about sleeves fitting my long sleeved tops since vests don't have sleeves.  Also, the shoulder seams don't have to match up perfectly since there are no sleeves.  And I don't want or need extra room in the bust.

Otherwise, I like the vest.  It's a great medium wash and overall really cute.

I'm curious to try this in XS, but shipping is no longer free as it was the day I bought this.  However, the vest IS on sale right now HERE!

Blue White Striped Skirt - size 4
This skirt is so cute!  I adore that it has pockets and an elastic waistband which makes it easy to fit and more comfortable to wear.  It's 23.5" long, but I might debating getting it shortened a couple of inches.  I wear slips under most things, but I didn't feel the need to wear one under this at all.

It runs large, as I'm normally size 6/8 and got this in size 4.  The elastic waist and a-line silhouette make it very forgiving.  Unfortunately it's sold out in most sizes already, but a few are still available HERE.

Floral Tee - size M
I've talked and talkeeeddd about this floral tee and showed you a bunch from Amazon that were hit or miss.  I have a top in this print, except the background is more peach whereas this one's background is white.  Also, the one I have is a billowy silhouette which makes it hard to tuck into skirts and awkward to wear on windy days.  (See the billowy one HERE.)

The top I'm wearing above has the perfect silhouette as an alternative to my billowy one!  The crew neckline makes it wearable with any statement necklace or pendant.  The length for Medium is 25" from shoulder to front hem when laid flat.  It's super soft and stretchy and looks good knotted (as shown above) if you want to make your own twist tee that's popular these days.  It's on the stretchier side, so if you tend to not like that kind of material or worry about clinging, then take that into consideration.  The shop does show it on both a size S model and a size L model that is much curvier, which is soooo helpful!  See those images HERE.

It's available HERE with free shipping!  Find it in navy HERE.

Tan Leather Sandals - size 9
I am so used to paying $16 for a cheap pair of sandals from Target, so these were a huuuuge stretch for me.  And naturally, there's a huuuuuuge difference between these and cheaper sandals.  I wanted to give them a try because I love sandals this style, and this lighter tan color was spot on.  Also, as I'm getting older I've been trying to be kinder to my feet (and therefore the rest of my body--I have back issues!)  I've heard fantastic things about the comfort of Born shoes, so I wanted to try that first-hand.  These have not disappointed!

I have been wearing them on Instagram and Facebook (HERE and HERE) and have been getting asked about them without even highlighting them or bringing attention to them.  That's just to say they're cute!

Looks: The lighter tan color is perfect!  Also, the ankle strap is thinner than any cheaper pair I've tried, and for the shape of my legs, I love the thinner strap.

Comfort: More importantly, they are indeed quite comfortable.  I wouldn't say there's a ton of support--they are still a flat sandal with no arch support.  But the footbed is cushioned, which is where the comfort part comes in.  The outsole is rubber, and overall the shoe is flexible without feeling flimsy like cheaper sandals.

The shoe is made of leather, hence why it's so expensive.  But it's comfortable and feels like a "real" shoe rather than the synthetic, super flat, almost-cardboard-like cheaper sandals I typically wear from Target and Old Navy.  I would freaking hope these are way above those kinds of sandals for how much they cost!  :P

These come in 6 colors and can be found HERE.  

T-Shirt Dress - size M
This is one of those suuuuuper soft, stretchy pajama dresses.  (White dirt marks on the Old Navy Mirror are not part of the dress.  :P)

I swear I ordered this same dress a few months ago in olive green, and it was way too short.  But I tried this one in store and the length is perfect.  This particular one is also thicker than the olive green one I tried months ago.  I'm not sure if the olive green one was actually a different dress, or if this is just due to Old Navy's inconsistent sizing.  Bah! *smh*

Anyway, I dunked this in a sink of water to see if it'd shrink, and I'm happy to say there was no noticeable shrinking!

That said, I'd prefer this to be a couple of inches longer because when I move around, it's a little bouncy and comes up higher than I'd prefer.  The sleeves are such that when you raise your arms, the entire dress comes up with you, and this thing comes up above my mid thigh--yikes.  I'm definitely returning it and considering ordering it in Tall.

I'm not one to pass up a good striped dress!  And as much as I love my striped t-shirt dress, sometimes you just need a bare arms.  This one also passed the sink dunk test and suffered no noticeable shrinking.  (Hand washed and air dried.)

Important question: Can you wear a regular bra with these arms since they're cut a little inward?  Sorry for the unclear answer, but it's a maybe.  It depends how well your straps stay in place or how wide set your straps are to begin with.  I haven't actually worn this for more than 15 minutes testing it around the house, but for that short time period the straps on my regular bra weren't a problem.  If a regular bra doesn't work for you, a racerback bra should do the trick.

Unlike the black dress above, this one does NOT do the weird thing where the whole dress comes up when you raise your arms.  No sleeves = no problem!  :)

Find it in 4 solid colors and 5 prints HERE!

Olive Tank Dress - size M
Yes, another one of these.  Like I've been saying, I have a *lot* of work to do in building my summer wardrobe, so I need to rebuild my dress collection.  I know this swing silhouette is not the most flattering on me, but frankly I don't care.  It's so comfortable, breezy, and laid-back.  And honestly, they are more flattering on me than most of the dresses available these days that have the seams right across your stomach.  Anyway, if you desire a dress with more structure, you can try belting the swing dresses.  You can play with how high or low you want the belt, depending on the dress and your body shape.

I really wanted an olive jersey dress for this summer, and since the striped one above doesn't come in olive I scoured Amazon for one.  There are TONS, but many of them are too short for me at 33-34".  I searched and searched and finally found this one that's a nice 37" and hits me just above the knee.  Oh, and it has POCKETS!

It's only $17, comes in a bunch of colors, and can be found HERE.  (I really love the Kelly green version!)

Sandals - size 9
These are a cheap pair of sandals from Amazon, and they definitely feel cheap.  I'm not sure why, but they have a pretty decent 4 star rating!  On one hand, they are very flexible which is nice, as some cheaper sandals feel very stiff and rough.  On the other hand, I'm worried they'll actually break or something if I step on a rock.  Perhaps I've been spoiled by the tan leather sandals I reviewed above! :P

The plus side is that these come in a ton of color combos.  If you're looking for a cheap pair of sandals to carry you through this season, these could work for that.  See them all HERE.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BFF Dress + Found a Suuuuper Similar One!

A good striped dress is a closet staple for me, yet for some reason it feels elusive and so difficult to find a good one!  The dress I'm wearing is from Target last year and is perfect, but no longer available.  I get asked about it sooo much, and I'm glad to say I finally found a really awesome super similar one RIGHT HERE for only $18!

I haven't tried it in person so I'm not sure about sizing.  I don't know if I can get over to an H&M to try it out for you anytime soon, but I wouldn't wait since fantastic striped t-shirt dresses tend to sell out quickly!  

See the ways I've worn my striped dresses HERE and HERE.  (The first link is with a sleeveless striped dress, but I often layered something over it, so a short-sleeved version should work with almost all of the looks.)

Lastly, did you know there's a giveaway for a free Lily Jade bag?  Enter HERE!

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Target (similar)
Vest: J.Crew c/o thredUP (similar)
Shoes: Zappos (similarsimilar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exactsimilar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact
Cuff: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact)
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (exact)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3 Summer Outfits + Lily Jade Comparisons + GIVEAWAY!!!

REVIEWS: Lily Jade Bag Comparisons

I've gotten questions from people trying to decide between several Lily Jade bags, so I'm excited to partner with Lily Jade today to compare a few for you!

If you haven't heard of Lily Jade before, they craft gorgeous high-quality leather bags that have amazing organization and functionality. Oh, and did you know they're actually designed to be diaper bags? The insides are made of a wipeable lining that makes them easy to clean spills and messes. Plus, the lining is sooo pretty in either red or a gorgeous Tiffany blue! Each bag also comes with a compact machine-washable diaper mat and a removable machine-washable bag organizer for the millions of things you have to tote around with young ones.  Lastly, every single bag can be worn with shoulder straps, as a crossbody messenger, or as a backpack for hands-free movement.  One of my favorite features of these bags!

And yes, the bags are expensive, but they are high quality with leather that ages well over time, and the designs are timeless. These bags will last a lifetime!

If you love how these look but are in absolutely no need of a diaper bag, don't let that deter you. Like I was saying, these are just beautiful leather bags! I have gotten compliments on my Lily Jade bags from many people, including young college-age and young adults who had no idea these were diaper bags. They wanted a sophisticated looking leather backpack that could fit their notebooks and laptops, and these Lily Jade bags fit the bill.

Lily Jade has 5 styles that are different sizes and shapes, come in canvas or leather, and come in an array of colors.  I'm reviewing 3 of them today: The Rosie, Elizabeth, and Meggan.

I've owned the Rosie in Camel for about a year and have owned the Madeline in Brandy in the past.  Benson, being a minimalist, convinced me that I only needed to own one bag, so I sadly said bye to the Madeline.  Lily Jade lent me the Elizabeth in Brandy and Meggan in Black to review alongside the Rosie.

Lily Jade Bag Reviews
Lily Jade Bag Reviews - Meggan, Rosie, Elizabeth
Featured left to right: Meggan, Rosie, Elizabeth.  As you can see, the Meggan is the tallest and the thinnest.  From there, they get shorter, but longer and wider.

Dimensions & Weight (all info found on Lily Jade's site on each product page):

  • Meggan: 14.5"(H) x 5"(W) x 16.5" (L).  Weight: 2.45 lbs.  3 exterior pockets.
  • Rosie: 13"(H) x 4.5"(W) x 17" (L).  Weight: 2.05 lbs.  2 exterior pockets.
  • Elizabeth:  11"(H) x 7"(W) x 17" (L).  Weight: 2.75 lbs.  6 exterior pockets.

All bags also include 1 zippered interior pocket, 2 additional interior pockets, and the 12 pocket removable organizer.

Lily Jade Diaper Bag

For this review, I'm going to go through each bag, showing it with an outfit so you can see its scale against a person.  I'll also show each bag packed with the same items and discuss how the bags compare.  Then, at the very bottom I will compare the comfort of wear and my thoughts on each of the designs.  

On each of Lily Jade's product pages you can see how every bag looks packed with baby items like diapers, the Sophie giraffe, and a bottle.  However, I have an almost-3-year-old and we are out of diapers, so I didn't even have any on hand to use as a model.  Instead, I packed what we'd typically bring which includes a few items for Addie as well as my stuff. 
  • Addie's stuff: cup, snack cup, wipes, pencil pouch with markers, activity books, iPad, bib, spoon, puppy and blanket.  (We don't actually carry a bib or spoon for her anymore, but I wanted to add another item that wasn't compact.)
  • My stuff: small wallet, little tan pouch with my odds and ends, my big 32oz water bottle.
If you're looking at this stuff thinking, "What I would carry is TOTALLY different," don't get too hung up on the actual items.  Whether or not this collection resembles what you'd carry around doesn't matter much.  The more important thing is how this group of stuff compares from one bag to another to compare how much or little room there is between bags.  

Alright, here they are!


white lace top + olive utility shorts + tan sandals
white lace top + olive cargo shorts + tan sandals
white lace top + olive utility shorts + tan sandals + tan accessories
Lily Jade Rosie
Shop for the Look:
Top: J.Crew Factory (exact, similar)
Shorts: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Sandals: Zappos (exact)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact
Cuff: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact)
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (exact)

Lily Jade Rosie Interior
We'll start with the Rosie because it's the bag I own and am most comfortable with, but also because it's right in between the other two bags, making it a good reference point.  

What I love about this bag is that it is the most lightweight out of the three, and it stays open on its own fairly well comparatively.  It's easier for me to find things when the opening is wider.  I also like that it's not too tall because I can easily see all the contents laid out width-wise, instead of stacked on top of each other and having to pull things out to dig out what's on the bottom.  

WHAT I LOVE:  Above you can see how it holds all of our stuff, including being long enough for the big activity book and tall enough for my water bottle.  You can see in the second shot of the interior that there are several inches to spare--roughly 2.5 inches--which means I can fit Addie's puppy in when she doesn't want to hold it anymore, or I can easily fit a cardigan and/or change of clothes for her and still zip it all closed.  Unfortunately, I cannot fit a cardigan for myself which is often necessary where I live. 

This is my favorite of the three bags to carry on my shoulder.  The long straps are perfect, and the uniform width allows it to rest on the side of my body very easily without moving.  (As opposed to the other two tapering in width, going from narrow at the top to a wider base.  That is actually pretty awkward to hold and the bags don't stay in place on my shoulders.)

CONS:  The exterior pockets are a little large and must be zipped closed or else the bag loses shape, AND your stuff can fall out.  When I had the Madeline, I loved that I could slip my phone into one of the very deep exterior pockets and not have to zip or buckle anything open to access it.  And the pockets were so deep that I never worried about my phone falling out.  That is not the case with the Rosie.  

Also, I find this loses its shape the most of the three bags when worn as a backpack.  It's still the primary way I wear it, but the middle often pulls where the strap attaches and deforms the bag.

See the Rosie's specs HERE.


striped dress + denim vest + white sneakers
striped dress + denim vest + white sneakers + tan bag
Lily Jade Elizabeth Backpack
Shop for the Look:
Dress: Target (very very similar!!!, similar, similar)
Vest: J.Crew Factory c/o thredUP (similar)
Shoes: Zappos (similar, similarsimilar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exactsimilar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact
Cuff: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact)
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (exact)

This is the shortest but longest and widest of all three bags.  It barely fits Addie's activity book and sadly does not even fit my water bottle!  Couldn't squeeze it into the bag, nor could I zip it up because it was too tall for the bag.  It's a shame, because I think this bag is SO cute!  

WHAT I LOVE:  I absolutely love all the exterior pockets.  If I carried smaller items that could be sorted into all the exterior pockets, this bag would be wonderful.  Perhaps I could have taken the contents out of my small tan pouch and distributed them into the pockets to make room for my water bottle, but even then, the bag was too short.

It's quite comfortable to wear as a backpack and does not lose its shape.  Something about how squat the bag is and that it's wider on the bottom makes it nestle into the small of my back really nicely.  

Overall, I was surprised how small the Elizabeth is.  As a diaper bag it's a little difficult, but that could work in its favor for post child-rearing use.  It reminds me of a cute satchel or book bag, and I think makes a smart-looking backpack or large carryall.  

CONS: It's the heaviest of all the bags.  And again, it doesn't fit much.  Also, I find the short shoulder straps difficult and uncomfortable to wear.  The bag is so wide and the straps are so short that it's hard for me to wrap my arm around this thing when it's around my shoulder.  

See the Elizabeth's specs HERE.


black printed dress + utility vest + tan sandals
Lily Jade Meggan in Black
Shop for the Look:
Dress: Old Navy c/o thredUP (similar)
Vest: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Sandals: Zappos (exact--wearing size 9)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exactsimilar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (exact)

This bag is enormous, yet it's lighter weight than the Elizabeth.  It doesn't feel as huge as it is, probably because the weight distribution is good.  

Everything EASILY fit into this bag.  I could almost have doubled the amount of what I had in there.  It's so tall that the activity book could fit upright rather than on its side like I had to do in the other bags.  However, I put it on its side for comparison's sake, and there was a whopping 5.5" of extra vertical space.  

I could have added Addie's puppy, a cardigan for her, AND a cardigan for me and still zipped this thing.  Also, the exterior pockets are wonderful!!!  This also holds it shape well whereas some of the other bags collapse when empty (like my old Madeline did, if I'm remembering correctly).  I thought it'd be uncomfortable as a backpack since it's so large, but I was wrong and it proved to be surprisingly comfortable--more comfortable than the Rosie as a backpack.

CONS: If you don't want to dig deep for items, a shallower bag like the Rosie might be better for you.  Also, I don't love carrying this as a shoulder bag because of what I mentioned earlier about the tapering width.  However, it's actually stays really nicely if you carry shoulder bags on your shoulder and pushed more to your back versus laying directly on your side, if that makes sense.  Carried that way, this bag is great on the shoulders.

See the Meggan's specs HERE.


Most comfortable as a backpack - There's not a HUGE difference to me, but the Elizabeth and Meggan were more comfortable than the Rosie.  Barely.  They held shape better as backpacks too.

Most comfortable with shoulder straps - Rosie, if the bag lays on your side versus around your back.  The width is uniform and lays streamline against you whereas the tapered widths of the other two make it awkward to hold.  The Meggan is fine with shoulder straps if you push it around to your back.

Aesthetics and use beyond diaper/kid days - Honestly I think all the bags will be great and not look like diaper bags post child-rearing.  The Elizabeth looks like a large carryall or satchel.  The Meggan looks like a very large carryall tote, and even though I styled it casually above with a summer dress, I could see it being carried even into business settings and having a portfolio pulled out of it.  It would also be a great travel tote because of how big it is.  The Rosie...I don't think it looks like a diaper bag at all, but I can't think of another type of everyday bag that it does look like, to be honest.  It's just looks like a really nice bag, haha.  And FWIW, the Madeline and Shaylee (neither of which were reviewed in this post) feel like fantastic quality casual messenger bags to me.  

Lastly, Lily Jade is giving away credit to one lucky winner for a bag of their choice!  Enter in the widget below:

For more posts with Lily Jade, including outfits for moms, see:

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