Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Vacation Packing List: 7 Pieces to 12 Outfits + 40% Off thredUP Code

Quite a few people have been asking for another summer vacation packing post, so I’m excited to be partnering with thredUP to bring you one!

Sometimes when planning for a big trip I either want or need to buy a few cute things to take with me. The “want” part is just for fun, to indulge a little for a special vacation. The “need” part is because sometimes I actually don’t have what we need for the activities on our trip!  But, regardless of whether it's a want or a need, I often feel bad spending money on new stuff for vacation.  That's why thredUP is awesome--it allows you to add to your closet without spending a fortune!

thredUP is basically the best resource for second-hand shopping, selling like-new and even many new-with-tags secondhand items at a fraction of the retail price, all online.  thredUP carries items from brands and stores that you and I love, like Old Navy, H&M, LOFT, Nordstrom, Target, J.Crew, and Anthropologie, as well as brand names like Paige Denim, Coach, and others—all for much, much less!  Also, they carry maternity clothing and children's clothing and shoes, which are all categories I hate spending money for the most because they're so temporary.  Wish I'd known about thredUP back when I was pregnant!

To show the great kinds of pieces thredUP has, I built a summer vacation wardrobe with a bunch of pieces I found there.  Here it is!
Summer Vacation Packing Lists

It includes:
  • 3 solid tops that are loosely fit. If you're going to pack all solid tops, make sure there's something special about each of them, like cute details, a nice fit and drape, or have a unique shape.  You could also go with tanks or spaghetti strap blouses of course!  Anyway, the cream one above is from Madewell, and while it's hard to see in these pics, it has cute cutout detailing which makes it distinct from a plain white tee.  The blush one above is a LOFT tee that I absolutely love because of how comfy it is and how it hangs on me.  The grey tee is a super comfy Leith tee with a hi-lo hem. It’s a brand sold at Nordstrom, but I got it for much less!  I found all of these on thredUP!
  • 1 summery dress. It can be solid or printed. The more important thing is that it could be worn for multiple occasions.  thredUP had tons of cute summer dresses, and I was so excited when I found this Old Navy one!  It can be worn walking around town or to the beach, or dressed up a little for dinner. 
  • 3 bottoms – 2 neutrals and 1 print. They can be any combo of jeans, shorts, or skirts that you prefer, but each one needs to go with at least 2 of your tops. If they go with all 3 that’s even better as it maximizes your options! I used jeans here, but if wherever you’re going is too hot for jeans, swap them out for denim shorts. I included white Old Navy shorts that I also found from thredUP. And lastly, since I have 3 solid tops in the mix I added a patterned skirt to mix up the prints as well as silhouettes of my outfits.
  • 1 lightweight jacket (optional). Last summer I visited my mom in my hometown and I brought a jacket that I didn’t use once in 3 weeks. It was warm enough day and night without one!  That said, I probably would still bring a jacket anywhere with me just because I like to be prepared. You all should know by now how much I love my utility jacket, so when I found this grey one from Old Navy on thredUP I couldn’t resist it!
  • 2-3 pairs of shoes. This is totally dependent on how many different activities you’ll be doing and what kinds of shoes you’ll need. I usually want flats while I’m traveling because traveling often means lots of walking and activity. But I also like to bring a pair of heels just in case.
  • 1-2 bags. Again, this depends on your activities. I like to bring a tote for when we’re out all day and a cross body for traveling lightly during activities.
  • Accessories. This is where I don’t hold back much. I have a tiny pouch that I usually pack jewelry in, and I stuff my favorites in there, however many I can fit.  Especially in the summer, accessories are key to mixing up your wardrobe when you can’t use things like jackets or cardigans. (Wrote a post about that HERE.)
  • Not pictured – workout clothes, beach gear, etc.

Here are the outfits!
Summer Vacation Packing List 7 Pieces 12 Outfits

These are just 12 of many more cute summer outfits that could be made with these pieces. It includes a mix of casual outfits for lots of walking and some for dressy casual occasions. Also, while the jacket goes with any of these outfits, unlike in my fall and winter packing posts, I tried not to rely on the jacket to make any of the outfits distinct.

Almost all of the apparel is from thredUP except for the skinny jeans and skirt.  And in case you're looking for some special pieces for your summer vacation, I also saw statement pieces like a tropical print maxi dress, a faux moto jacket, and dressy tops.  And I actually picked up two other pieces not shown here—a purple Halogen pencil skirt and a trendy little J.Crew denim vest.  Such good finds! The clothes were in excellent condition, but if there are any slight imperfections on clothing, thredUP lists that on the item’s description page and the price is usually even lower as a result.

It was really fun to shop at thredUP, to find such great pieces, and to be able to find fun things for summer, like the orange dress or the J.Crew denim vest.  I also learned a few things about shopping at thredUP, so here are some of my tips!

how to shop at thredup

  • Use their wonderful search and filter features. thredUP has thousands of items, and they add to it everyday. To make things easier, you can filter through types of clothing, color, sizes and “like sizes,” brands, and more. Very helpful, and way better than digging through racks at stores!  
  • Have a specific type of item in mind.  Examples: a summery dress, a short-sleeved top, a grey utility jacket.  With all the inventory thredUP carries, it could get overwhelming if you're just browsing!
  • Search "New Arrivals" first.  Because new things are added everyday, starting with new arrivals helps you not cycle through the same things you saw last time you browsed.  
  • Put it in your cart immediately, even if you’re not sure. If the item looks like a great find, chances are someone else will want it too.  Put it in your shopping cart immediately, where it will be held for roughly 24 hours. That way you can continue shopping and decide later, without having to worry that someone else will take it. I’ve made the mistake of not doing that and lost out on a really cute bomber jacket!
  • Shop from your phone. I shopped in bed or while waiting in line at a store from my phone, and the shopping bag synced to my computer so I could continue shopping from there when it was convenient.  #winning
  • Opt for store-credit for free return shipping.  If you like what you see on thredUP, you can get free returns if you opt for store-credit. 

Also, a few of you have asked me about selling items on thredUP.  I haven't yet, but it seems like it's a fairly easy process which you can read more about on their site.  If anyone's done it, let us know how it was in the comments please!  

Lastly, great news!  If you're a first time shopper with thredUP, you can use code PMT40 for 40% off your order up to $50 until 7/5.  Start shopping HERE!  (Valid for first time shoppers only.)

created in partnership with thredUP

Friday, June 24, 2016

Boyfriend Jeans Made Dressy Casual + 5 Affordable Boyfriend Jean Options

Man, all of your responses to the Nordstrom Summer Giveaway (HERE) have me counting down the days until I get to take a vacation.  Meanwhile, I'm in Madison, WI for a work trip!  I kind of count it as a vacation, though.  I've come here many summers for this same work trip and love it!

These outfit pics were taken before the heatwave we've been experiencing in San Diego.  There's no way I would have been outside with long pants and a long-sleeve top the last week!  That said, if I do opt for jeans in the summer, like on more mild days, I find myself choosing boyfriend jeans more often than not.  For one, they're more relaxed, which is how I like to feel in the summer.  But also, they allow your legs to breathe a little more, and sometimes a little bit of breathing room is all I need. 

While my first inclination is to pair boyfriend jeans with tees and casual clothes, I really love pairing them with slightly dressier pieces.  Today I did it with one of my beloved Nordstrom tunics (HERE) and wedges.

My jeans are from Old Navy a while back, but there's a well-reviewed similar pair with no rips or distressing HERE.  I recently also tried a lighter wash pair with distressing that I liked a lot HERE.  For the light wash pair, I would strongly recommend sizing down 1-2 sizes.  I'm normally 6/8 and those fit me in size 4.  They're currently on sale too!

Lastly, this buttery soft bucket bag that I use very often is currently marked down from $64.95 to $25.98 HERE!  It comes in black too.  If you've been contemplating it at all, now is the time!

Here are some boyfriend jeans under $41 from Old Navy and Nordstrom.  I also tried Option #3 and liked them, feeling like they were similar to the ones I'm wearing in pics above but with less distressing.  They come in the wash shown below and a lighter wash.  However, the lighter wash was little looser than the darker wash, in a way I didn't like.  
Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three
four  |  five

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Old Navy (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact--super super sale!)

Monday, June 20, 2016

8 Things I'd Pack for a Summer Vacation + $200 Nordstrom Giveaway ($100 x 2 winners)

black maxi dress outfit
maxi dress outfit
black maxi dress outfit
tassel necklace
summer vacation outfit
summer vacation outfit

This is the dress I would take with me on any summer vacation.  I cannot recommend it enough, and it's back in stock in 4 solid colors and 4 prints (HERE)!

It makes the perfect summer vacation outfit.  It's soft and comfy like pajamas, made of that soft jersey material.  Unlike other maxi dresses/skirts I've tried, this is not super duper thin.  It's not the thickest though, which I'm grateful for because I want to wear it in the summer.  You might still need a slip in certain colors, but it really depends on your body shape and the undergarments you wear.  (See my post on undergarments HERE.)  However, thumbs up for the top being fully lined.  Also, it's flattering, looks effortlessly cute, and doesn't wrinkle easily.  I mean, c'mon.  Cute, pajama-like, and keeps you away from an iron.  What more could you ask for on vacation?

Oh wait.  ALSO, you can also wear it as a coverup on the beach, while strolling around shopping, or dress it up for a dinner.  See why I'd take it anywhere?

In addition to black, I have it in the blue print and equally love that one!  (See it on me HERE.)  I'm normally S/M or 6/8 and wear this in S.  For length reference, I'm 5'6" and this dress has adjustable straps.

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Nordstrom (exact)
Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom (similar)
Bag: Sole Society (exact)
Shoes: Target (similar, similar)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede 

Summer Favorites + Nordstrom GIVEAWAY!
While we're on the topic of summer vacation, I'm partnering again with Nordstrom to show some of my favorite Nordstrom summer pieces.  And for fun, let's do another Nordstrom giveaway!  I've made it a habit to do a giveaway every time I do one of these seasonal posts because I want to help you create a wardrobe you love, and one piece of that puzzle part is having the funds to do that.  Also, my 5 year blogging anniversary just passed, and I gotta celebrate that!  So many reasons to do a giveaway.  :)

Since last time several of you said you don't use various social media, this time you can get one entry just by commenting on this blog!  READY?

These are some of my favorite summer pieces for Nordstrom!

Cover Up.  Previously shown HERE.  Perfect for when you're on the beach or poolside and want to be in your swimsuit, but just have a liiiitle more coverage.  Know what I mean?  And it totally makes you look chic!

Grey Tee.  Ohhhh, this might be my perfect grey tee.  Maybe it'll be perfect for you too!  It's soft and lightweight with a fantastic loose fit.  This heather grey is perfect too, but it comes in 9 colors as well!  I'm contemplating the olive one right now.  It's under $20!  This is the easy, effortless, comfortable tee you want to wear on those lazy summer days with a pair of denim shorts and sneakers or sandals.  I'm normally S/M or 6/8 and got this in S.

UGG Wedges.  I've talked about these a ton.  Most comfortable wedges I've ever worn!  I've run several hours of errands in them and had no regrets.  Some reviews say they run narrow, but I didn't find that to be true.  I'm normally 8.5 or 9 and got these in 8.5.  9 was fine too, but slightly long for me.

Cutout Crossbody Bag.  The cutout design is just adorable.  It makes every outfit have a little summer boho vibe, and it's my summer go-to bag if I want something smaller than the tote mentioned above.

Maxi Dress.  As mentioned above!

Board Shorts.  Pair the cover up above with these shorts!  I usually have trouble finding shorts that leave some room in the thigh area, so I was pleasantly surprised by these.  I'm normally 6/8 which put me as S on the sizing chart.  But I sized up to M for a looser fit and am glad I did.  I love the gold trim and that they have pockets!

Tassel Necklace.  This was in my recent post on jewelry (HERE) but in white.  There is a very expensive version of this necklace (HERE) that I've admired from afar, but this one is much, much, much cheaper.  So glad I found it because it makes everything feel summery but put together, from a plain maxi dress like the one above to a white t-shirt!

Reversible Tote.  I use this year round, but I'm mentioning it for summer activities and traveling for when I need to carry a bunch of stuff.  The material is pretty durable, as I've had this tote for several years, have brought it all over the country, and set it down on the floors.  I'm not nice to it, and it's just started to show a little scuffing this year.

Shop the Items:

In case you're interested, some of my past Nordstrom Favorites lists: Spring Favorites; Best Work Trousers; December Nordstrom Wishlist and Favorites.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway will run for 2 weeks, until July 4th.  Winners will be chosen later that week.
Entries by honor system.  Play nice!

(I took a looooong time to choose the winners from the Nordstrom Spring post (HERE).  My apologies!  I overcommitted at work this year and the administrative part of blogging has been falling through the cracks a little for me.  But, my work rhythms return to normal come July, so this time winners will be chosen in more timely manners.  PLEASE remind me if that doesn't happen!)

created in partnership with Nordstrom

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to Remix Pieces Without Layering In the Summer

Ever since I talked about layering and completer pieces as way to mix up your wardrobe (HERE), many, many people have asked how to do that in the summer when it's too hot for layers.  Jackets, blazers, cardigans, and even vests can be way too much if you live in a really warm and humid climate.  But, how else are you supposed to change up a piece?  My number one answer is to think of jewelry as a "completer" piece, and to mix up your outfits using accessories.

While it's also helpful to mix and match separates and use different bottoms, once you get to dresses, that isn't really an option.  And for me, dresses in the summer are must-haves!  That's why being able to change up jewelry is key.  Different jewelry and accessories will help extend the clothes in your closet, whether in separates or in dresses.  Plus, jewelry can often be used in multiple seasons whereas many clothing items only last for a season!  

Today I'm glad to partner with Nordstrom again to show examples of different accessories you can wear to change up your look.

While Nordstrom has a ton of fine jewelry and brand name statement jewelry, I actually really, really love their less expensive jewelry from brands like BP.  A few of my absolute favorite pieces of jewelry are from Nordstrom.  This teal bib necklace was the first piece I ever bought from Nordstrom several years ago.  It's probably my most worn piece of jewelry, and it's still going strong!  Also, I picked up this pink drusy pendant (better seen HERE) last year and have loved it for pulling together my outfits in a simple way.
I'm using this black top as the base for all the outfits to show how to mix it up with different accessories.  This top is fantastic, btw!  A while ago I talked about how these types of solid tops are SO versatile because they can be worn casually or dressed up because of the material.   (Beware, it's 100% polyester which I know doesn't work for some of you.)  This has a great loose fit with a nice drape and good airflow for hotter months.  It's currently on sale (HERE) and also comes in a solid white or 5 different patterns.  The fit is quite loose, and for reference I'm normally S/M and got this in S with room to spare.

I'm showing this top with different jewelry, but I'm also showing it with 3 different types of bottoms for casual, dressy casual, and dressy occasions to show its versatility.

Also, I avoided using completer pieces since we're supposed to be talking about remixing a top with jewelry.  I used jeans, which might be out of the question in extreme heat climates, but just use shorts in the same color instead.

Onto the outfits!  And, all jewelry shown below range between $18-$30.

For a casual look I chose some of my go-to's, which are boyfriend jeans and white sneakers.  I love boyfriend jeans in the summer as opposed to skinny jeans because they are more relaxed and allow your legs to breathe more.  This white tassel necklace creates a bookend to the white sneakers to pull the look together.

I LOVE this mother of pearl tassel necklace, and it's perfect for summer!  I've been a fan of the absolutely gorgeous stone Kendra Scott ones for a while, but they are sooooo more than I want to pay.  (See them HERE.)  The one I'm wearing is a FRACTION of the Kendra Scott necklaces!  Mine comes in turquoise and black as well, and can be found HERE.  I got the turquoise one too!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--on sale!)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar with less distressing--size down!)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact--on sale!)
Shoes: Zappos (similar)

Dressy Casual #1
I've been eyeing a huge metal statement necklace like this for a while.  Online, the model was wearing it with a plain maxi dress which I thought was perfect!  This necklace dresses up the plainest piece and gives it oomph.

Here I mixed neutrals to let the necklace do most of the talking, but you could totally wear this necklace over a solid colorful dress or with a plain cotton tee and jeans.  I don't think I'd wear it on regular rotation, but it's a great piece to have in your arsenal.  If you ever need to make any outfit a little more special you can just whip this out and be good to go!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--on sale!)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact)
Shoes: Old Navy
Bag: c/o Gray Monroe

Dressy Casual #2
This one is a little more on the casual side rather than the dressy side.  Not that that really matters.  What's more important is that I used the exact same base as the outfit above--jeans, top, and shoes--and only swapped the necklaces and bags.  Whereas the previous outfit felt a little more glam, this one has a slightly boho feel because of the necklace's beads and tassels.  I wanted to echo that feel with the laser cut bag.  Isn't it cool how jewelry can change the feel of an outfit?

I used to think it was dumb to spend the same amount of money on a piece of jewelry as I would a top.  Why wouldn't I just buy another top instead?  Finally I realized that a good piece of jewelry breathes new life to a ton of other pieces in your closet, often making the cost more worth it than adding one new top.  I'm excited to wear this necklace with a bright orange dress I featured a few posts back, along with a few other tops and more dresses of course!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--on sale!)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: c/o Sole Society (exact)
Shoes: Old Navy

And finally, a little on the simpler side for a dressy look.  My earring collection has been hugely lacking ever since I stopped wearing my hair up as much a few years ago.  But they are a great way to add accessories, especially if an outfit is a little busy with a piece like this lace skirt.

These earrings are beautiful, though!  I also feel like they really classed up my outfit.  They're from a brand I hadn't noticed before at Nordstrom, called Panacea.  As I searched through Nordstrom's jewelry I kept finding myself drawn to Panacea pieces, like these earrings and the turquoise necklace above.  (You can see the whole collection HERE.)  They're a fun mix of intricate design and louder statement pieces.  Also, the price range varies with many affordable pieces.  I'm gonna keep my eye on them from now on!

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--on sale!)
Skirt: Forever 21 (similar, similar)
Shoes: H&M
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka
Earrings: Nordstrom (exact)

Jewelry can make the same item of clothing laid back, dressy casual, or appropriate for a dressy occasion.  It's taken me a lot of convincing that spending money on a piece of jewelry can extend my closet more than adding another shirt, but I'm a believer now!  Here are some current favorites from Nordstrom:

Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three  |  four  |  five
six  |  seven  |  eight
nine  |  ten  |  eleven  |  twelve

created in partnership with Nordstrom

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