freestyle FRIDAY

After the announcement of wanting to start freestyle FRIDAY last week, I was more than pleased with the response I received! I've gotten several email inquiries about advice, styling help, and how to remixing specific pieces. I'm so excited to share them with you each Friday - and more than anything, I hope they are helpful!

One of my first emails came from Ashley. She had recently purchased this maxi dress from Kohls and wanted my opinion on how to  style the dress, but more importantly, make it office appropriate. So office appropriate is what I made it!

The Look
FSF - Ashley
{click picture for individual items and prices}

The Breakdown

Jacket: My first thought was a cover-up - some type of jacket or cardigan. I've never worked in an office, but I'm pretty sure a sleeveless maxi isn't appropriate in most office situations. I'm also pretty sure that office is a nice name for ice box - they're usually always freezing (or maybe that's just me?). Since a maxi doesn't always offer structure I thought a great way to gain this would be either through a fitted blazer or a belted cardigan.

Shoes: Again with the differences in offices - some allow open-toed shoes and some do not. So I have two options - black sandals or black flats. Given the colors and pattern of the dress, I felt as if a black shoe is a great option - although, I think gold would look fabulous if you weren't keen on black. Now, not everyone likes a flat shoe - if you prefer a wedge or heel instead, go with that.

Belt: I mentioned this above, but I added in a coral belt to a.) give the look some shape by accentuating the waist and b.) to bring some subtle color to the black cardigan and tie in the coral in the flowers.

Jewelry: I went with a beaded cuff - in the color of your choice. I had originally considered bangles, but they can get pretty annoying if you are constantly moving around and especially to your co-workers who are most likely within close proximity. If you aren't a big bracelet person, I think earrings or a pendant necklace would be a great way to tie in the coral or turquoise in the dress. I would advise to keep the jewelry minimal. With such a bold print too many pieces of jewelry can really ruin the look - and honestly, probably isn't that appropriate for the office.

On an "I need your feedback" note, what do you all think? do you like the breakdown and the variety of options or would you rather seen one distinct look and a minimal blurb about what I chose? I'd love to know what you all think!


Daily Threads: Linen

banana republic pants {similar}, target tank, similar scarf, ross ruffle wedges {similar}

The horrible storm that has hit Alabama left gorgeous weather in its wake. Seriously, today might be the most beautiful day I have seen in AL since living here. So I took advantage of the blue skies and mid 60's with a pair of linen pants and a linen scarf. I'm going for easy-breezy. It's days like today I wish I lived somewhere that you could walk everywhere.

After taking these pictures I shimmied into Sephora to play around. I hadn't been in there in a while and my little Sephora now has NARS and is getting MUFE soon! I scoped out the Korres counter and then moved on to the Sephora brand lipsticks. I didn't realize it, but I was looking for a neon pink and I found it. Although I didn't purchase it, I'm definitely in love. I want it, but not sure I have anywhere to wear it?

I just wanted to say a special thank you to all of you who have emailed, tweeted, and texted regarding our safety. We are so blessed to be safe and without damage to our town. You definitely count your blessings when hundreds around you have lost their life or their home and over a million are without power for the next few days. The county we live in was hit hard - a large tornado came through and five were killed in this county alone. Luckily, we are on the opposite side of the county. The majority of what you are seeing on tv is about an hour north of us - in Tuscaloosa.

I don't know how much the national channels are showing, but the local channels have been showing so much coverage in northern AL all day long. I'd be lying if I said I haven't shed some tears - it's impossible not to. Seeing entire neighborhoods demolished and unrecognizable (within minutes), seeing grown men and women sobbing as they speak on their experience yesterday, and to see an entire herd of cows pop up on the golf course really gets to you. Then to hear about lost pets... ugh. I can't handle it.

I'd ask that all of you send prayers to this state - and the entire southern area as AL wasn't the only state hit. And... if you have a couple dollars to spare, it would be awesome for you to call (334) 420- 0212 to donate to the American Red Cross.


How To: Look for an Interview

Let me start out by saying that every job interview is different; what you wear and how you look during an interview highly depends on the job itself. This particular look and the following guidelines are for a job interview in healthcare. If you were interviewing for a position in a company that is more fashion-forward (e.g., PR, assistant, consultant) I believe the dress could be a bit more bold, trendy, and fashionable. However, for many jobs the interview is less about what you look like and more about what you know - that was the case here. 

For this interview I wanted my resume and what I had to say to shine above everything else. This doesn't mean I threw fashion and beauty to the side, I just kept it as simple as possible. 

Attire. I kept things simple, but tailored. Instead of going with a classic, three-piece suit, I incorporated three different pieces and three neutral colors. I felt as though this kept the look professional, but still modern. Instead of adding color through accessories like a necklace or bracelet I added my color through my bag. 

Jewelry. The only jewelry I wore for this interview was large, pearl stud earrings (again, going simple and classic). However, I do think it would have been perfectly fine to put on a nice watch or even a simple necklace. I wanted to avoid anything that would have been too much. For example, multiple bracelets with a  watch would have looked nice, but would have made too much noise - very distracting when you're trying to sell yourself. 

Bag. Instead of carrying my purse and a bag with my resume and other relevant papers, and larger carry-all bag fit the bill. The large pockets on the side were great for easy access to pens and storage for my keys and there were pockets inside to house my wallet and cell (that was off!). The large bag not only offered a bit of color to my neutral look, but also was a simple and organized way to carry everything I needed. 

Makeup. If I had a detailed picture of my face you would see my makeup is light and neutral. I put a tiny bit of concealer under my eyes, dusted my face with mineral powder to even the skin tone, and added a light dusting of a pink, matte blush to give my cheeks definition and color. I did a light, neutral smokey eye (light brown on my lid and a skin-tone tan blended in my crease), a thin and short winged eyeliner to open my eyes, and a couple strokes of mascara. On my lips I, again, kept things natural by using a lipstick that was the color of my lips.

Perfume. Don't wear it. Not to an interview. What may seem like a light spray to you could be suffocating to the interviewer. Even if it's light, someone else could smell it and easily become distracted. 

Hair. Since my hair is longer I decided to go with an up-do. A simple ponytail, with a small section of my hair wrapped around the holder - to give a more polished look to a simple do. I didn't want my long hair in my face or all over the place during the interview. I considered just pulling and front pieces back and going with a half-up/half-down look, but the ponytail was just easier. 

Nails. I took any nail polish that was already on off. While neons and pastel nails are all over the place right now, I'm pretty sure your interviewer won't appreciate it (unless you're interviewing for a trendy company). Again, staying with the simple and non-distracting look I decided to take my pink nail polish off. If you are someone that can't go out of the house without their nails perfect and polished - that's fine. Just choose a neutral color that won't grab attention. 

Teeth. If you know of your interview in advance I would recommend using a teeth-whitening system. Even just a couple days of using white strips can make a difference. Bright white teeth are more pleasant to look at and aren't as distracting as yellow teeth - at least that's how I feel. Also be sure you brush your teeth, pop in a mint, or chew a piece of gum before the interview (but make sure you spit out the gum before going in - if you're forgetful, go with the mint). 

Other tips. Here are a few other grooming and preparing tips to consider.
Clean up your eyebrows by plucking outlying hairs.
Get a hair cut/trim before the interview - you don't want split ends all over the place. 
An interview is not the time to try out a new hair do or a new makeup look. 
Consider comfortable shoes - there may be a tour as part of the interview and if there's not, you should ask for one.
Get ready early. You never know what may come up or go wrong while getting ready (someone could stop by the house or your hair might not be cooperating).

In a nutshell these tips and guidelines are more on the basis of keeping your look clean and simple. I made sure nothing that I was wearing or anything else about my looks was distracting. Again, this interview wasn't about selling my personal style, but about selling myself, my knowledge, and my skills. Good luck on your next interview!

P.S. - I got the job!


Apothica Haul

I love reading posts and watching videos of fashion and beauty hauls. It's fun (and sometimes enlightening) to see what others are purchasing. Posting one of my own is a different story - I'm not sure how I feel about doing it, but I'm going for it anyway. Hope you all see this more of as review than a look at me post ('cause it's not). 

My first order from Apothica was one that combined things I needed and things I wanted to try for the first time.* So here's the breakdowon:

1. Clarisonic Brush Head - I was given a clarisonic system for Christmas from my parents this past year and it's recommended that the head should be replaced every 3-4 months. So that's that. 
2. Smashbox Foundation Primer - I'm running low on my primer. Now I usually buy the regular Photo Finish Primer, but as I was browsing I saw that this was the same thing, but with SPF and Dermaxyl Complex. So I thought I would give it a try. 
3. YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch - I've seen and heard about this product for a while now - nothing but great things. Since I was using a gift card, I thought this would be the perfect time to give it a try (because, boy, it is pricey). I've only used it a couple times, so I can't say exactly how I feel about it - I never like a new product right away. 
4. Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter - This stuff. Much like the YSL highlight pen, I had heard lots of lovely things about Korres lip butter. Let me tell you - it's all true! This stuff is the best lip product I've ever put on my lips. It goes on smoothly, stays on for quite some time, and makes my lips more soft then they've ever been. It also has a gorgeous tint of color. The pomegranate is a pink/coral color which I love! I will definitely be purchasing this again. And soon and I've already made quite a dent in the lip butter. 
5. Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange candle - Anytime I go into Anthropology or Francesca's I always got straight to the Voluspa candles. They smell delicious. So I had to get one - and in a citrus scent. I love it. And they are a pretty piece to be sitting around your house. 

So that's that. I'm highly satisfied with everything that I order. Do any of you use these products? I'd love to hear what others have to say about particular products. 

*I purchased the majority of these items with a gift card from Apothica.


Daily Threads and Giveaway Winner

top: c/o megan nielsen, pants: gap, shoes: vera wang {similar}


First thing: how amazing is this top? My sweet friend Megan Nielsen makes some gorgeous clothes. Some time last year, when I first came across her work, I was in love. I particularly could not take my eyes off of this top and last week I found it in my mail box! How sweet is she? Her new Spring Line should be debuting very soon! So keep an eye on her shop for when these gorgeous pieces are revealed. And keep up with her in general on her blog.

Second thing: white skinny jeans! My local Gap offers 40% of any one item - I'm not sure how long this will last, but I just realized I should make a trip there everyday to snag up some clothes all 40% off... duh. Ok, anyway. You all know that white, skinny jeans have been on my want list for a terribly long time. When the sales associate informed me of the discount, I had to. I felt like they were a bit tight, but four people in the store told me they were fine. So I just went with it.

Third thing: the Apothica $50 Gift Card ended on Friday and I am excited to announce the winner! So congratulations to Gina of The Crave to Save! Email me within three days to claim your fabulous gift card!

I sometimes feel bad scrolling through the comments to find the winner because I want to give everyone who entered a gift. But I can't. Keep checking in, though. I have a fabulous giveaway lined up for May and I'm also thinking about a giveaway of my most popular Etsy Shop item - the Turquoise Pendant!


freestyle FRIDAY

Even at a younger age I can remember noticing style. I've always been intrigued, but I would say it wasn't until my early twenties that I really began taking notice of fashion magazines and trends. All of a sudden I was more interested than ever in making sure what I wore reflected my own evolving style. Although I'm not a professional in the fashion industry and I didn't study any aspect of fashion in school, I still believe my passion is strong and I could do well in the industry. The problem - it's almost necessary to be living in NYC or LA to get started, and I'm in a tiny town in Alabama.

If I could have any job in the fashion industry it would hands-down by a stylist. I think there are plenty of people out there already designing gorgeous clothes, but definitely not enough people out there showing consumers how to wear those clothes. It's an outlet to share my own creativity; additionally, it's a great way to help others.

Anyway, I could rant and rave all day about how much I enjoy fashion and styling, but let's just get to the point. I thought a great way for me to fill this void is to start a weekly post on here where I can style away!

While I could easily style whatever I wanted I thought it would be more fun for you all to send me your requests! Maybe you have an item you bought last month and are still stuck on how to style it or you have a date or event coming up and you have no idea what to wear - I want to help you!

I want you to email me {dwellingandtelling at gmail dot com} and let me know the details - anything you feel you should share. Colors, styles, trends, pieces that you love or hate, the event that's going on, your budget, what you already have that you want to use - anything you think is necessary for me to know.

I definitely need your help to get started with this so please email me with any request you have! Be sure to put Freestyle Friday in the subject line!

Easter - JCP
To get things started I thought I would share with you a look I put together last week for a JC Penney contest on Good Life For Less. The contest was to put an Easter look together using an item from JC Penney. Since coral is huge right now I went in that direction. Gold looks amazing with coral so that's where the jewelry comes in and, well, storms have been all over the place so a trench is important as well. Hope you like it! (P.S. - I won the contest! Can't wait to use my giftcard!)


Daily Threads: Hot and Humid

j crew top {similar}, tj maxx skinny pants {similar}, uo pumps, rafaella jacket {similar}

It's been hot, humid, and overcast lately. In case you didn't know - it's quite difficult to get dressed for that type of weather. The jacket seemed necessarily since it looked as if the bottom was about to drop out, but I could barely last two seconds with it on. I have a feeling it's going to be a long summer...

A couple twitter friends and I have been chatting about the delicious Bojangles. You see, my friend Meg is from Australia and now lives near DC - so she'd never even heard of this heavenly place. I immediately bombarded here with tweets and hopefully she gets to one soon. I went from being in Bojo Heaven to not having one within 100 miles. I freaked out a bit when we moved here and I found out because Bojangles is my favorite. Ever. So when we make weekend trips to NC or GA I always eat Bojo's - usually twice.

In other not-so-mouth-watering-news (well, it might be mouth watering to you - to each his own):

Today my friend Liz is wearing my favorite necklace from my Etsy Store!

Tomorrow the Apothica $50 Giftcard Giveaway ends! So click here and enter if you haven't!


Daily Threads: Floral Shorts

target tee and cardigan, belk shorts {similar}, UO pumps

Perhaps sandals would have been more fitting with this relaxed, casual look I had going on, but I just couldn't not wear these pumps with those shorts. I had to do it. I don't have a detailed pictures for you, but there is definitely some orange/coral specs in those shorts. I promise. Even if there wasn't, I might have worn these anyway.

I want to give a huge shout-out and thank you to all of you who voted for my look in the Design Your Look Contest over on Makeunder My Life. I came in 2nd place! Which means I got to pick out two pieces of Jess LC jewelry! Ah, I was so excited to hear my name announced and I'm even more excited to share with you all the pieces I picked out! Thank you again SO much for your votes - I couldn't have won without you!

Florals | Everybody, Everywear


Over the Weekend

Mom and Dad surprised me by coming on Friday! They were supposed to be getting in mid-afternoon on Saturday, but decided to show up early - which I was ecstatic about! I was out running a few errands and received a photo text message from my dad of a landmark near our place. I immediately knew they were here and raced home!
{the girls were so happy to be together - they took a break from playing so I could snap this photo}

Friday night was pretty exciting. We were under a tornado warning for a couple hours - and heard the tornado alarms all night. We were so lucky here - the bad weather hit above and below us. We completely dodge all harmful weather. It was a blessing!

Saturday we had a large breakfast and then headed out to the grocery store to stock up for the week! (yes, they were planning for an extended visit!) The storm that hit us Friday night was making it's way up to NC. We began to watch the weather channel and see that it was getting worse as it got to NC. I started getting live updates on twitter about the tornadoes. The reports indicated they were getting closer and closer to my hometown. Within an hour we received a phone call from my cousin that a large tornado had hit a portion of my hometown - and that portion involved the street my parents live on. A tree had fallen on their house.

I think we were all in a bit of shock. We received a few text messages of pictures of the damage. It wasn't pretty. We all kind of knew that their trip here was now cut short. The damage was pretty bad and they needed to get back home. It was definitely a bummer as we all had looked forward to this week - just hanging out and spending time together. I hadn't seen my parents since Christmas, so even the super short visit was wonderful, but a long week would have been much better.

{watching as mom and dad pack up the truck}

Their week long visit turned into a less than 48 hour visit, but I'm just so happy that they were safe during the storm! The damage is bad, but it always could have been worse. The best picture of the ones we received is definitely the one below. While my parents were ten hours away and worried about their home, they had loving family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers working together to get the fallen trees out of the yard and off the house and get a tarp over the damaged roof. Such a blessing for my parents and a bit of relief as they made their trip home.

Update// Below is a picture of the house before everyone came out to help.
Also, it was determined that a F3 tornado hit the area.


Recipe: Chicken Triangles

So this is a recipe that my sweet friend Tyra D shared with me. We actually made it together when she and Rhian came to visit back in January. It's called Chicken Triangle. It's easy to make, pretty to present, and delicious to eat - so that means it's pretty much perfect. 

Let's get started.
I hope y'all like having pictures with your recipes.

2-4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
4-6 oz ham, cut
4-6 oz swiss cheese, cut (I've also used cheddar)
Petridge Farm puff pastry sheets, thawed
Garlic, salt, and pepper

1. Separate pastry sheets and open to allow thawing. 
2. Cut first three ingredients into cubes and small pieces. 
Season chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper.

3. Once pasty has thawed, flour a clean surface to roll out the pastry. 

{if you don't have a roller, a wine bottle is perfect}

4. Once the sheet is rolled out, cut into four squares. 

5. Place equal amounts of chicken, ham, and cheese on a corner of the square.

6. Fold the square over to make a triangle. Be sure to pinch the edges together tightly and then fold them over and pinch again - just to be sure.

7. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes - until golden brown. 

See? Pretty stinkin' easy, right?! Eat it with your favorite sides (I've had mac and cheese and green beans with this so far - whatever you like!). Enjoy!


Daily Threads: Blues


top: j crew {similar}, shorts: target {similar}, shoes: vera wang {similar}
necklace: my shop, clutch: handmade

During the warmer months I generally stick to shorts and a loose top - I think you'll notice that as we go through spring and summer. It's comfortable and it works for me - I love it. Hope you're ok with that. I'm also finding that these shoes are perfect for spring - so I hope you don't mind seeing these pretty often as well. 

Also, I mentioned in my last post that my brother was here! He, husband, and I went out yesterday evening to snap these photos. It's so much more fun getting out and taking pictures. And not having to tote around a tripod and remote (no offense to these two - I don't know what I would do without them when brother isn't around, but it's nice to have someone else snap the photos for a change!).


Daily Threads: A Day at the Park

I'd recently heard from someone I bumped into at our mailbox that there was a dog park close by. Now I'm not a huge fan of dog parks (mostly because Vets warn it's the number one place for your dog to get injured), but I figured during the middle of the day there might be less people there. And I was right - no one was there. Maeby had the whole park to herself! So we bypassed the fenced-in dog area and let her roam around this open field.

She had a blast. Mostly because my brother could throw her stick about three times farther than I could. Oh yeah - did I mention my brother is visiting? He flew in on Sunday and is visiting for the week! And this weekend my parents are driving down and visiting! I'm so excited to have a house-full of family!

Since my brother is like a hundred times better than a tripod, he snapped a few photos while we were at the park. My park attire is very casual and comfortable as I like to run around and chase Maeby - encourage her to get all that energy out! And she did!

{top & shorts: gap, scarf: target?, belt: mom's, loafers: sperry}

When we got back to the car we found Maeby in the driver's seat ready to take us wherever we wanted to go. She asked if she could drive us home, but I said I'd prefer she have thumbs before getting behind the wheel. 

If you haven't already, would you pretty, pretty please hop over to this post on Makeunder My Life and vote for my look. There's no joining or signing up - just leave a comment with Linley J - Dwelling and Telling. I would appreciate it SO much!


I Have a Favor to Ask...

So a couple posts ago I shared a look I created with Jess LC jewelry. 
Well in order for me to win the contest I need votes!

If you have the time would you please please please pop over to Make Under My Life and leave a comment simply saying Linley J - Dwelling and Telling!?

Oh that would really make my day!

Daily Threads: A New Clutch

top: tj maxx {similar}, shorts: target {similar}, cardigan: belk, shoes: jack rogers
chains: self-made, watch: fossil, clutch: self-made

So this cardigan definitely wasn't necessary, but my arms aren't ready to make a debut. Just wanted to throw that out there. Moving on, I feel like I have been seeing large, simple zip clutches all over the Internets lately. When I spotted this American Apparel one I almost gave in, but found a couple DIY tutorials that seemed simple enough that I could try and hopefully save myself about $45. And I did. 

It's definitely not perfect. In fact, it's no where close to perfect, but it will do. It was only the second item I've ever sewn, so I'm actually counting it as a true success. I got my fabric (vinyl) from Jo-Ann's and there were several gorgeous colors I wanted to grab, but I didn't want to get ahead of myself. So I only got one. And the most neutral one I could find. There was a deep blue that I may have to go back and snag and give this clutch a second go! 

If you have superior sewing skills, you should definitely give this project a try. If you have beginner sewing skills (that's me) this tutorial was great, but I'd definitely say do additional research. I like to have options of how to do things, so I combined about three different tutorials. Good luck!


Daily Threads: My Lisa Turtle Top Debut


top: thrifted, shorts: banana republic pants, shoes: bandolino {similar}  

So I'm pretty sure this is the most inexpensive outfit I've ever worn. The top was thrifted for $4, the shorts were a pair of pants that were given to me, but were too short - so I made them into shorts, and my shoes were bought on clearance at DSW - I'm pretty sure for less than $20 (and maybe even an additional percentage off that!). And I love it - the whole look is perfect - and that silk top is amazing during a hot day. Trust me! It's so light and airy. And it gives me a waist! Oh, it is love. Happy Weekend!

Also, while you are hanging out around my blog be sure to enter my $50 Apothica Giveaway!

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear