Hair Tutorial: Fishtail Braid

I've had a few people ask for a tutorial on my fishtail braid - and so here it is! I hope it's easy to understand and I'd love to know if you re-create the look! I'm also going to be doing one on a knotted bun later on. Enjoy!

The only important thing I said while the music was playing was that if you have really fine or silky hair, you may want to invest in some texturing product (a spray or balm). Textured hair really helps to keep the hair where you want it! Good luck!


30 for 30 Items: Winter Edition

Tuesday starts a new 30 for 30 Challenge! When I heard it announced, I knew I wanted in! I enjoyed myself and learned so much during the Fall challenge and I can only hope this time around will be as fun. I can't wait to see what others put together and see what I challenge myself to come up with! 

Here are my items. It was a lot more difficult the second time around coming up with my picks - I don't know why? Was it hard for you (if you are participating again)? I'm not going to lie, I'm somewhat nervous with these. I haven't mentally planned out options, so let's hope these 30 work out! I only had a couple repeats from the last challenge, but they are staple pieces - they have to participate. Let's get started!

P.S. How do you all do such cute pictures of your picks? With the white backgrounds and such? Super jealous! I feel like the carpet is distracting. (probably photoshop...)

Nine Tops
J Crew Breton Boat-neck (similar)
Gap White Long Sleeve Tee (similar)
Merona Chambray Button-up (similar)
Old Navy Polka Dot Blouse (similar)
J Crew Ruffle Cami (similar
J Crew Floral Tank (similar)

Two Jackets + Five Sweaters
LC Blazer (similar)
Belk Drape Cardigan (similar)
Belk Winter White Cardigan (similar
Belk Green Cardigan (similar)
Banana Republic V-neck Sweater (similar)
Mossimo V-neck Sweater (similar)

Four Pants + Two Dresses + Two Skirts
Banana Republic Denim Trousers (similar)
Target Black Skinny Pants (similar)
TJ Maxx Sinny Jeans (similar)
Urban Outfitters Dress (similar)
Mossimo Polka Dot Dress (similar)

Six Pairs of Shoes
Mossimo T-strap Wedges (similar)
Guess via TJ Maxx Cognac Booties (similar)


Friend Friday


1. What technology do you use in blogging? (computer, camera, video camera, tripod, etc...) 
I use all of these! My computer is most definitely my number one piece of technology for blogging. I've never used my phone for writing a post, but I've never had to either. I've definitely used the video option on my digital camera for video posts, the camera on my phone when a regular one wasn't around, and my SLR for the majority of my pictures. Many of my daily threads photos are taken using my D40, a tripod, and a compatible Nikon remote

2. What computer and online technology do you use? (blogging system, photo storage, photo editing tools, etc..) 
Blogger (obviously). It is definitely my favorite blogging system. I've given Wordpress, Tumblr, Xanga, and LiveJournal all a try. For photo storage... (again) I've tried several: Photobucket, Webshots, and Flickr. If I had to pick one it would be Flickr; mostly because I've used it for a while, it's easy to navigate, and I'm familiar with it. However, as of right now, I usually just upload my photos through blogger. As far as editing, I use several editing tools: Google Picasa, Windows Editor, Paint (yes! Paint!), and an online editor Picnik

3. What is your process for taking pictures? 
There really isn't much of a process. I get dressed for the day, do my hair and makeup, and when I have the time I gather tripod, camera, and remote, and go snap the pictures.

4. When it comes to backdrops for your photos what do you consider? Do you scout locations or shoot the same spot daily? 
If someone is with me (husband, brother) then yes, I definitely like to scout areas. Being a female and solo most times when taking photos, I try to stay close to home. I've recently been snapping photos right outside of our home (with a wall behind me) or either behind a parking garage in our community that's right across from our place. I'd love to venture out and find gorgeous places to put in the background of my photos, but I don't like going out to new places by myself too much and I don't like to bring attention to myself with a tripod and remote - thus I stick around here, usually behind something. 

5. If you could splurge and get one new piece of equipment what would you be buying? 
This guy. Or this guy. Either. I've really been wanting a HD video camera and the new D3100 or D7000 are kind of perfect. HD video, high mp, and user friendly - my kind of deal. While we are splurging I'd also like a couple different lenses and other accessories for the camera. Oh and maybe a new couch, a shopping spree, and some diamonds. I love splurging! Back to reality - on a not-so splurging note, I'd really like a Diana lens for my D40 in the future. 

If you would like to read others' answers to the questions head over to Modly Chic for a full list of all participating!


Daily Threads: Trash and Trash Bags

{top: old navy | skirt: F21 | tights: target | boots: steve madden}

Weird post title, huh? Not really. First of all, I finally found myself a trash-bag skirt! I was oh, so excited to stumble across one in F21 last week! That store can most definitely become overwhelming, but a little time and patience can really pay off! I've wanted a trash-bag skirt forevvvvver. I love this one too! It is the perfect color, it's linen, and it was inexpensive. Ah, don't you love a great score? Second, see that piece of trash behind me? There were several other pieces of trash lingering around behind this garage. Pretty lame - I hate litter. I thought about moving it, as it disturbs the aesthetics of the pictures; however, it suits the skirt well.


BEV: First Dance

Since mentioning my wedding in the previous post, I've been thinking: I should share more of our special day. I started writing Bride's Eye View posts when I started my blog as a way to share thing I learned along the way of wedding planning. I've taken a detour away from those posts recently and it's time to get back to it. However, this time around I want to share more from our day. (Hope y'all don't mind!) 

First up: our first dance.

Our first dance as husband and wife. A quiet moment during such a big day. We closed our eyes, smiled, and enjoyed holding on to each other for a fleeting three minutes. David Gray sang to us. Took us back to that first year of falling in love. Days where we would jump in husband's Explorer, get lost on country roads, and listen to songs that were ours. This dance was one of my favorite moments of that day.

Some people are lyrics people and some are music people - we are both and neither. I can't explain it, if we like a song, we like it. That's it. Ultimately This Year's Love won, but Last Request and Two both were in the runnings. None of these songs are really songs celebrating love, but they are our songs - and that's all that mattered.


Daily Threads: Breton Stripes

{breton stripes: j crew | cardigan: target | denim trousers: banana republic | loafers: issac mizrahi for target}

Don't you just love a lime and navy combo? Well, you might not care for it, but I do! I do! These were the two main colors for our summer wedding last year. Green hydrangeas and navy linens - it's a favorite color combination and one I adore. So when breton striped were announced as the next Everybody, Everywhere piece it was easy for me to throw on a lime cardi, roll the sleeves, and call it a day. I would prefer these denim trousers hit a bit higher on my waist and a long, multi-strand gold chain necklace around my neck, but hey, you work with what you have, right? If you haven't already, snap a photo of you in your breton-stripe-best and upload it to EBEW!

Also wore Breton Stripes here.


Daily Threads: Lazy Sundays

{top&tights: target | cardigan: belk | skirt: F21 | booties: steve madden}

Today was a typical Sunday. Church, lunch, nap, dinner, football - in that order and nothing else. Oh, except for snapping these photos. And sorry for the squinty eyes, it was bright. Back to the point: I love Sundays. I even had a blog once called Lazy Sundays. They are the best. Relaxing and enjoying life - that's what Sundays are intended for and that's what we plan on doing for all Sundays to come. How was your Sunday?


Look! I Have a Badge!

So we all know a badge is a great way to spread the word of your blog. It's like a "mini" first impression. I finally made one. I'm not really that html savvy. I mean, sure I could Google the Internets for tutorials, but that's a lot of work - reading and sifting through tutorials that I may or may not understand. So I called out on my Twitter and asked for help. 

The Wonderful Lisa of The Coastal Chicster came to my rescue. She sent me an email with advice, tidbits, and other links that all led me in the direction towards my very own. I now present you all with my new badge:

Copy and paste the text below
 to add this badge to your blog:

So I made the big announcement on Twitter and a couple seemed interested in a tutorial/directions for doing this. Would you all like me to share the step my step directions for making your own badge? I'm not high on the totem poll when it comes to html, so all of you may already know, but for those of you who don't, I'd be happy to share! Let me know!


Friend Friday

So... I didn't get around to answering the Friend Friday questions this week (oops!). I decided to go out of town for some shopping Friday morning and then husband and I had a date night. However, I still wanted to talk a bit about blogger authenticity. 

I try my best to write/say what I would say to a friend - share things that I would share with a friend. When I started this blog I had zero readers. It was just me and my thoughts being plastered on a webpage. I share what's on my mind and I write as if I am talking to a friend. This type of blogging is most authentic, in my opinion.  To some extent (and those of you who know me can attest to this) I don't necessarily write the exact way I talk, but nothing really get's lost in translation - if that makes sense? 

I think authenticity is parallel with what is personally interesting (to the reader) when it comes to following blogs. I know it's kind of big in the blogging world for some to say "follow my blog and I'll follow yours." I can't give into that. I mean, sure, I will definitely follow your blog if it's interesting and inspiring to me; however, I cherish my google reader - I look forward to reading updates of my favorite blogs (again, blogs that are interesting and inspiring). I can't fog up my GR just to kindly increase a blogger's follower base. When your blog turns into a race to the highest numbers, you lose a piece (whether large or small) of your authenticity. Now, don't get me wrong, it is extremely flattering and humbling to see follower numbers rise - I love it - but that's not a reason to blog. So whether I have two, 200, or 2,000 followers, I plan on keeping my content the same - writing like it's just me and a friend.

I also think authenticity isn't always a priority for following. Look at We Heart It - this isn't the most authentic blog (e.g., personal, original), but I enjoy browsing through that blog for inspiring photos. And just because a blog is authentic, doesn't mean everyone will be interested. Opinions and personal preference (of the reader) is the root to being drawn to a blog - for me anyway - and everyone isn't drawn to the same. 

So to wrap up my ramblings, authenticity (in the blogging community) is someone transferring their real-life selves, as best they can, onto their blog. That's it. And authenticity is important in being true to yourself; however, it isn't always a requirement when it comes to enjoying a blog. And that's the beauty of blogging.


Daily Threads: A Cloudy, but Bright Day

{jacket: gifted | top: banana republic | jeggings: target | boots: steve madden}

Just to go ahead and clear things up - yes, I am wearing sunglasses on a perfectly cloudy day. It's bright, even when the sun is covered by clouds. Does this happen to you? Or are my eyes hypersensitive to brightness? Or both?

Moving on - let's talk about my half of a jacket - or what the world of fashion likes to call a cropped jacket. What are your feelings on this style? I kind of like it. It (like a belt) pulls the eye towards the smallest part of the body and I like that. I also (kind of) like the over-sized sleeves. However, Chris isn't crazy about this style. He says it's grandma-ish - which I see, but at least I'm not wearing it with Keds and sweatpants. Needless to say, I rarely wear cropped jackets, but I just love this one. So until he hides it somewhere I can't find, I'm wearing it. What does your husband/bf/whoever not like in your closet?


Daily Threads: Blog Swap

blazer: target
tank: american apparel
necklace: gift
skirt: gap 
tights: dsw
shoes: target

blazer: target
shirt: raygun
belt: target
headband: forever 21
jeans: banana republic
shoes: target

I'm sure you've noticed by now that I'm not Linley. Besides the fact that my name is Kelsey and I live in Iowa, Linley and I actually have a lot in common. (Especially our love for bacon.)

It's nice to "meet" you! Linley and I met during the 30 for 30 challenge last fall and discovered that we have similar styles. And we also have the same blazer. Today we're swapping blogs to show you how we dress it up and dress it down. I don't dress up very often, so it was a fun challenge! To see how Linley wore it, visit my blog.

P.S. Isn't that Linley such a sweetie?!

P.P.S. If I look cold in my photos, I was! It was 15 degrees when we shot these...


Weekend Update

This weekend I was SO LUCKY to have two of my dear friends come visit! Tyra (update!) and Rhian (make a blog!) made the trip from North Carolina to come spend the weekend with me! We all met through our graduate program and have been great friends ever since. Here is a bit of a recap of what went on!

We made Chicken Triangle. Which are drool-worthy. Don't worry, I will most definitely be sharing the recipe soon - it counted as one of my NYG recipes!

Saturday morning, after a large breakfast and a couple re-runs of Bridalplasty (have you seen that show?), we got ready and were about to hit the road to Birmingham until I walked out of my room and saw that Trya Dee and I were twins. Great minds think shop dress alike. So then I just switched sweater. 

We went up to Bham for some shopping at the Summit. We made a pit stop at PF Changs to re-fuel and then got back to shopping. We had planned on getting downtown to explore as well, but we ran out of time. 

When we got back home, before getting ready to go out to dinner, we decided we should make fudge. And then eat fudge-pot (fude-pot is when you leave a significant amount of fudge in the pot after pouring it out into the pan to harden and then just eat if straight out of the pot while it's warm - yum!).

So then we finally got all dolled-up and went to SaZa for a pizza dinner. 

On Me:
Cardi: unknown
Top: Old Navy
Skirt: F21
Tights: Target
Shoes: UO

On Rhian:
Dress: Target
Tights: Target
Boots: Target

On Tyra: 
Top: Gap
Skirt: LOFT
Tights: Target
Boots: Nine West

 The girls left early Sunday morning to make a pit stop in ATL to see our friends Michael (also from grad school) and his girlfriend Teresa and do a bit of shopping at Ikea (jealous!). It was a wonderful weekend that went by too quickly. I really hope I get to see these girls again very soon! Shmeee!


Daily Threads: Friend Friday

{top & sweater: old navy | leggings: ny&co | boots: steve madden}

So I've determined I love and hate this look. Love it because it combines leggings, an over-sized sweater, and boots - and any outfit that combines these three things is automatically a winner in my book. Hate it because I look bulky. Layering a large sweater over a turtleneck isn't sliming. Just so you know for future reference. It's been cold lately so I've been forced to dig for my large, thick sweaters. 

And now, ModlyChic's Friend Friday questions:

1. How do you determine what you will wear that day?
Oh, gosh. That's a good one! It literally varies day to day. It depends on what I'm doing, where I'm going, who I will see, and what is clean. In more times that not, I like to pick one piece that I want to wear that day - a pair of pants, a dress, shoes - and work around that piece. The piece usually reflects how I feel about the day, what I'm doing, or myself.  

2. Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend? 

This is a great idea! I'm not one to plan in advance when it comes to outfits (most things, yes!, but outfits... nah). I'm definitely that girl that will go through several looks before walking out of the house satisfied. The closet and bedroom floor usually turn destructive before I'm done. On occasion, maybe for a weekend trip, I will plan and develop general looks, but I also throw in "extra" pieces of clothing in case I change my mind. Packing pieces to mix and match for the weekend works best for me. I'm such an avid "dress how you feel" person, so planning doesn't always work for this girl. 

3. Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don't repeat? 

I definitely keep mental notes of looks - and now that I document most of my daily outfits, I can certainly keep up with what I have worn. However, I have no problem with repeats. If an outfit works, work it! I'm not going to wear the same thing during one week or to the same place, but I don't mind wearing the same thing to two different places. Am I the only one who does this?

4. How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons?  Hanging items together?) 

I definitely come up with a lot of my looks by brainstorming - mix and matching in my head.; however, the look doesn't make the cut until it is tried on and approved by me and my mirror. I also really love browsing magazines, fashion blogs, and websites for new ways to remix items I already have. 

5. To streamline the process for 2011 what is one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time? 
Planning for sure! But like I said, that doesn't always work for me. I definitely need to trim the fat in my closet - streamline it. Get rid of those pieces that just kind of get in the way and hold me back. An inspiration board would be great as well. And I think I could benefit from always keeping in mind two to three looks/silhouettes that work for me and my body, so that when I am in a rut or running late I know these are fail-proof looks. That's more than one thing.


DIY: Rose Wreath

A very dear friend of mine (hey Mary Ann!) sent me a link a while back with a DIY for a wreath. When I saw it, I knew I was in love and had to do it. A couple months later I finally finished and I'm ready to share! Hope you love it!

18" wreath
25 (9x12) felt sheets
glue gun

1. Fold felt sheet in half, and then half again. This creates four layers. 
2. Trace cd (with a pencil) and then cut out the circle traced. This will yield four separate circles. 
Tip: The cd was slightly larger than the folded felt, but it didn't make a difference. 
3. Repeat this until all felt sheets have been cut. 
Tip: If you have nice scissors, you might can layer two of the folded felt sheets to cut eight circles at a time and speed up the process.
4. Layer four circles at a time and spiral cut them.

5.Once cut, begin from the center and start rolling the felt by following the cut you made. 
Tip: Be sure to keep this side flat so that gluing on to the wreath is easy.

{bottom of rose | top of rose} 

6. When you finish rolling your roses, place a bit of glue at the end to keep the rose together. 
7. Once the roses are finished, cover the flat side of each rose with glue and then place it on the wreath. 
Tip: Position a few of the roses to where you want them before gluing, just to make sure it fits and looks good.

This is an extremely inexpensive and easy project that anyone can do! It is a bit tedious and time consuming, but I wasn't in a rush to finish. I would cut and roll roses while watching tv until I finally accumulated enough roses to cover the entire thing.

I'm absolutely in love with this wreath. It's adorable, girly, and has this soft, romantic feeling to it. Now I just have to decide which room in our home will be graced with its presence.


Daily Threads: Hello, Poncho

{top: old navy | oversized sweater: target | jeans: tj maxx | boots: steve madden}

First things first - this sweater. It's definitely not the most flattering thing in the world. In fact, it's not really flattering at all, but it's like wearing a fashionable snuggie and I'm all for it. Additionally, it's pretty much an exact dupe for this $300+ sweater. (yeah!)

Second thing - a nice story. I went to Michael's today (the craft store, not some boy) and rummaged through all their Christmas things which were 80% off (80% off!!!). I found a fabulous little tree. It was about two feet high, sat on a faux tree stump, and had some snow and mini pine-cones on it - it's really cute, I promise! It did not have a price tag, but with the sale going on it couldn't have been over five bucks (that was my thinking). I get up to check out and I preface the item's condition (last one, no tag) and then place it on the counter. The lady looks at me, "scans" the bottom, and says, "Not a problem." Wasn't that so nice!

Third thing - my hair. Does it look any different? Probably not since these aren't the best pictures. However, it looks and feels different in real life. I started using Wen yesterday. I'm pretty notorious for staying up late, watching infomercials, and then ordering things I don't need. I'm that girl. I ordered Wen back in grad school (late one night, of course) and used it up, but didn't re-order. It was nice, but I wasn't really sure if it made a difference. Well this time was different. (And for the record, my mom ordered this batch - late night, watching infomercials - it runs in the family). She didn't really care to use it and gave it all to me. 

So after washing, instead of drying my hair upside down and curling, I did a blow-out with a round-brush. It has body, it is light and bouncy, and it is incredibly soft. If you've never heard of it before, you should definitely look into it. Its difference is that it doesn't strip your hair down (like shampoo does) and therefore makes it shiny and healthier. Go read up on it and watch the videos - it definitely worked for me!

Seven Things: Little Linley Lou Edition

Kendi tagged me to share seven things about myself during my school years. Although I've already shared seven, four, and an entire About Me page, I'm not going to say no (plus, she threatened with or else). I'm not one to let {another} chance at dishing random facts slip out of my hands.

1. My first concert: New Kids on the Block. I wish I was at home so I could scan the pictures of me at the concert. I was rightfully equipped with a black and neon hat (tilted to the side, of course), an over-sized button the size of my head, and an extra large NKOTB t-shirt that also doubled as a maxi-dress at the time. So hip.

2. Poly Pocket was my go-to toy. I loved PP. I had around eight of them and at least one was with me at all times. Moon shoes were also a favorite.

3. My first CD - Meatloaf. I was so young, I don't even know why I wanted to buy it (or how I was allowed!), but I did. I just couldn't get enough of I Would Do Anything for Love. Other first CDs included Bryan Adams (So Far, So Good) , Ace of Base (Sign), and Mariah Carey (Music Box).

4. Speaking of Mariah Carey, I had quite the obsession with her music growing up. I had all of her CDs and to this day I can sing any song - word for word - and all the "oh Oh oH ohh's" that go along with each song. I even sang Dreamlover for a 5th grade talent competition.

5. I took dancing from age two up through my early teens. My favorite part of dancing: recital consumes. I loved playing dress-up and my costumes were always what I'd go to first. I sometimes would even put the costumes on our dog - and I'm telling you, a boxer in a leotard with a tutu is the cutest thing ever.

6. Before my CD player was the record player. The only record I remember having and playing is a Rainbow Bright soundtrack.

7. I learned the things that a curling iron can do to Barbie's hair the hard way.

Now, Ashley, Kristen, Rochelle, Sarah, Kimmie, Kileen, and Law Mama Liz let's hear about your childhood. Also, if you're in my blogroll (and even if you're not), I tag you too! 


Daily Threads: I Need a Horse

{top: old navy | pants: tj maxx | boots: steve madden | necklace: F21}

 In my efforts to throw together a simple outfit, I walked out of my closet as an equestrian. I just need a cap and a blazer, oh, and a horse. And although this looks like a simple ensemble, it's not so simple to take off while out shopping. Necklace over shirt + socks over pants = annoying in the dressing room. Trying on pants over a pair of pants isn't as easy as it seems - and you leave the store with a pair two sizes too big. 

I have a love hate relationship with shopping - some days everything works out, other days... nothing. We went to a few stores last night and one was the Gap. I love the Gap - their simple, but trendy style appeals to me. The husband walked out with two pair of pants, a shirt, and some man perfume. I walked out with nothing. I tried on two pair of pants - in the same size as these (see how nicely they fit?). One pair was falling off of me and the other I could barely button (the laying down method always pulls through!). It drives me nuts. Does this happen to you? Ever? Please say yes.

Recipe: White Christmas Chili

If you've read my 2011 goals, then you would know I want to cook at least 50 new recipes this year - which equals out to about one per week - and last week I got started on this goal! It was cool outside, so what's better than chili when it's chilly out? (the answer is nothing) I love regular chili, so I decided to give my friend Tyra's White Christmas Chili a go! She and another friend of mine (Rhian) gave me a recipe box full of their favorites as a wedding gift - and I definitely plan on incorporating their recipes into my 50 new ones this year!

Servings: 15
(I split all the following ingredients in half since it's just two of us)

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 (14 oz) cans of chicken broth
4 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15.5) can of cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chilies, undrained
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

1. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
2. Saute chicken, onions, and garlic in hot oil in Dutch oven or chili pot over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

3. Stir in broth and next 10 ingredients and bring to a boil. 
4. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. 
Serve with desired toppings: Monterey jack cheese, jalapeƱo peppers, salsa, sour cream, or fresh cilantro.

This recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but you pretty much just measure everything out, do some chopping, and dump it all in - easy! And for such a simple recipe, it packs a whole lot of deliciousness! I highly recommend anyone looking for an easy soup/dinner to give this a try - and it's just as good the day after, if you're into leftovers. You will not be disappointed! 

If you are vegetation, you could probably just substitute tofu for the chicken or just double up on beans (or add in a couple different beans).

Happy Eating! 


J Crew Gingham + Friend Friday

  {shirt: j crew | cardigan & belt: target | skinnies: tj maxx | booties: steve madden}

Two things are going on today: 1.  I {along with a hand-full of others with this shirt} are all sharing a way we would style it (hope you like it!) and 2. I'm participating in my first Friend Friday hosted by Modly Chic (hope you like this too!). Check it out and shoot Katy an email if you want to participate next Friday!

1. Have you ever looked at someone's blog and thought yours will never measure up? 

I try not to do this. It's easy to lose sight of your own blog if you're constantly comparing it to others'. Will my blog measure up to what... amazing photos? the most expensive clothes? the most followers? the most sponsors? If I (or anyone) become so focused on those things my blog wouldn't get anywhere. It would lose itself. I think the most successful bloggers are those true to themselves. I personally prefer blogs that are original and inspiring - and that's what I want to be.

2. Do you (did you) feel pressure to meet some kind of undefined standard for fashion bloggers? 

Yes and no. Everyone has a different style. I definitely have an eclectic one -  I can be super girly today and tomorrow's look can be masculine inspired - and that's just how I roll; so many different styles appeal to me. I want to stay true to myself. If someone decides to follow my blog it's because they like what I've already done and interested in what I will do - so I'm just gonna keep-on-keepin'-on.  I prefer to ignore any standards that may be out there. I just want to be happy with what I'm doing.

3. Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers, and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging? 

D&T actually started out as a blog to share my new life as a wife. I wanted to share the things I love doing... like DIYs, crafts, and recipes. Fashion has always been a passion of mine and participating in the 30x30 was {somewhat} my segue into the fashion blogging community {which I had admired from a far and wanted to be a part ever since stumbling onto my first fashion blog}. In its few months of existence, D&T has somewhat evolved into a catch-all kind of blog - but still a place for me to share whatever I want and love - whether it's fashion, food, DIY, or my life in general. 

4. The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice - how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours? 

Since this blog is still somewhat new, I'm still working of what I really want it to be - a fashion blog with some married life stuff, married life stuff with some fashion, or an equal balance of it all - I'm still working on it. While I'm in the middle of this great discovery I'm so thankful for those who read my blog and show interest. This blog is for me, but now that I have people who actually read it, I want to keep them entertained as well!

5. Toot your own horn... what's one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?

As far as fashion goes - you never know what you're going to get. I enjoy a variety of styles: casual, dressy, girly, and edgy. I love mixing it up - whether it's day-to-day or within one outfit. I love trying new looks. I've been a lover of fashion for years, but that doesn't mean I only love one thing. I'm somewhat of  a free-spirit when it comes to fashion - if I love it and it's flattering, I'll wear it.


Daily Threads: T-Strap Debut

{shirt, pants, & belt: j crew | cardigan: liz claiborne | shoes: isaac mizrahi for target}

I almost re-took these photos. After uploading them onto my 'puter I realized that the camera was focused elsewhere and the quality (once zoomed in) is horrible. Then I did a bit of editing and decided I could live with them - hope you can too!

Today's look is most definitely J Crew inspired. I love how J Crew has transformed over the past couple years. They sometimes go for a hipster-chic (but still classic) kind of theme and it speaks to me. I just love it. And these shoes... probably my favorite pair. T-straps are classic, but sassy.

It's rainy and gloomy here. Makes me want to change back into husband's sweats and fall asleep on the couch. But I won't. I have some cleaning to do and if I get things done, I may even take a trip to the stores and shop some sales. Happy Wednesday!

edit// I've had a few people ask about the shoes. They are not a recent buy - I purchased these in November of 2008 at Target. Since they are Isaac Mizrahi for target try a Google or Ebay search? (here's a 7.5 and another)


Daily Threads: And My 2011 Goals

{sweater: belk | blazer: LC | skinnies: tj maxx | boots: steve madden}

I've never been one to make new year resolutions. When I have, I never get very far with them. I feel like sometimes they can become so epic that conquering them becomes intimidating or unattainable and you give up all together. I'm also not a fan of the fact that such emphasis and pressure is placed on setting these resolutions on Jan. 1st.   This year I am focusing on goals. Goals that are achievable and that improve my life in more than one way. So I bring you - my goals for 2011.

1. Get a job!
This is self-explanatory, but it's my reality. I need a job. I've had an incredibly difficult time finding a job in my field since moving to our new, small town. I know there is always more that I can do and I am daily going to be searching for the job that I'm supposed to have. 

2. De-clutter.
Now, before you go making judgments about what my house, closet, or office may look like, let me state that I am not a hoarder, by any means, but I know I have things here and there that I could get rid of. Throughout the year I plan to tackle rooms, closets, drawers, storage, and whatever else needs to be tackled. I've always wanted to do this and taking the whole year to focus on each room individually sounds achievable!

3. Organize. 
Which rightfully falls behind de-clutter. After the de-cluttering process takes place, mission organization comes into play. Being organized is one of the best ways to improve your life (in my opinion) and if I can when I thoroughly and successfully tackle the de-cluttering and organizing, I will be one happy little girl. 

4. Be more active. 
Between school, our wedding, and re-locating last year I had very little time to think about exercising - and even less time to actually exercise. While it isn't my favorite thing in the world, I understand it's benefits for making me a healthier (and subsequently a happier) person. Whether it's being on the treadmill while watching the television or taking Maeby on long walks/jogs, I will make an effort to exercise in some way, shape, or form throughout each week.

5. Try at least 50 new recipes.
This equals out to almost a new recipe each week. I really enjoy cooking. It's not only a way to fill your belly and nourish your body, but it can also be a source for creativity. I get into ruts where I generally just cook what I know. There are a hand-full of recipes that I can whip together - and husband loves them, but it eventually gets old (to me) and I want to try new things.  I'm not looking to try the latest gourmet French cuisine, so don't expect that, but I am looking to surprise our taste-buds once a week!

6. Recognize a reason to be thankful each day.
Life can get so busy and hectic that we forget to take note of how blessed we are. Small or large, it doesn't matter, there will always be something within the day to be thankful for. Taking the time to recognize whatever it may be will really bring my attention to what matters most, how blessed I truly am, and force a bit of humility on me. I plan on documenting these daily by journal and sometimes on here. 

So these are my main goals throughout the year that I will be working on. I have several others, but they aren't as significant. And I'm sure that as the year passes, I will acquire other goals I would like to accomplish. Here's to a new year, a fresh start, and improvements within all of our lives! (I just raised my glass. Don't be rude, raise yours too.) Hear, Hear.


Daily Threads: NYE

{top&tights: target | skirt: F21 | booties: steve madden | necklaces: self-made}

I brought in the new year with bubbly, family, and a sequin skirt - it was exactly what I wanted. I had this outfit in mind for a while and I was very pleased when it all came together; however, it would have been perfect if I could have found a silver, glittery cone hat with an elastic chin strap and a hand full of confetti. That would have been bringing in the new year right! Maybe next year! Here are a couple photos from the night.

All the children.
(husband, me, Julianne (husband's sister), Lesley (husband's brother's wife), and Jamie (husband's brother)

The girls.