daily outfit, dress

Nora Meets Ruby – Karina Dresses

May 29, 2015
I was provided this dress by Karina in order to give my honest opinion as one of the Karina Dresses Frockstar™ event bloggers. All opinions are my own, obviously. #frockstar

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The other day I was home visiting my mom and, of course, I was wearing one of my Karina Dresses. She complimented the pattern and style, asked where I got it and if I thought they would flatter her. My answer, obviously, was a resounding YES. So this time around instead of ordering a new dress for me to try out, I got one for mom.

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She’s in the Nora dress, which I haven’t even tried personally yet, and I’m in one of my tried-and-true Ruby dresses. I love how Karina Dresses are built to flatter nearly every body shape and every age. It isn’t a company created only for baby boomers or only for millennials. The styles and patterns compliment a wide range of people, making it possible for everyone to find something they’ll love.

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Plus, I’ve raved about it a dozen times before, but the ease with which these dresses slip on and require absolutely no ironing or other maintenance, beyond the occasional wash, is truly amazing! The current Karina Dresses giveaway is about to end so take advantage of the last couple days to get your entries in, and don’t worry if you don’t win this round because another giveaway starts on June 1st!

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Get social with Karina

Sign up for Karina Dress Newsletter. And if you are a blogger and you would like to do a review of a Karina Dress, they choose their reviewers from their affiliates! You can sign up to be an affiliate here: http://bit.ly/KDAffiliate

family, giveaways

Father’s Day with Cabela’s

May 28, 2015
This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic #CabelasGiftsForDads

One of the best memories I have of my dad from my childhood is actually something that might surprise a lot of my readers. Together dad and I used to go hunting. I’m talking bows and arrows, head-to-toe camo, waking up hours before dawn and sitting all day in a tree stand – Hunting.

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In all honesty, I think my dad despaired of having a boy to do all these manly things with, so as the oldest I was the one who got to fill the void. I took karate lessons and golf lessons, because dad thought it was a good idea. And I mastered to firing a gun and shooting a bow. (And this was all well before Katniss made it cool!)

11191462_423312084517933_1308942728_nDuring each of my high school years we would spend a dozen of so days during the winter months hunkered down in a forest somewhere in Illinois. I learned how to track deer and how to walk as quietly as possible through the woods. I learned the beauty of being in the forest when nature woke up all around us. I learned the importance of respecting mother nature and how while hunting is a sport it is also not meant to be a wasteful hobby.

And, most importantly, I learned the importance of one-on-one time with dad. The time together, even in utter silence, was bonding. It was something I treasured and something I really looked forward to each time the seasons changed and fall gave way to winter.

I don’t pick up the bow as often any more, but I always remember those moments when Father’s Day comes along. Dad still hunts. He now takes the boys, that he finally got, and they bond in a different way than the two of us did. Together we tend to get him gifts that fit into one of two categories – hunting or grilling. Those are his things; his hobbies; his passions. And those two things can always be procured at one place: Cabela’s.

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Even better, the sportsman shop always offers specials this time of the year. Now, you can save up to 50% off items if you shop Cabela’s Father’s Day Sale! Maybe this is the year we splurge on the 8-person tent. Or maybe we go a little crazy and get him a new bow – he hasn’t had a new one since before I started hunting with him. To make the deal even sweeter, not only does Cabela’s have a huge sale going on, there are even more discounts to be had thanks to Coupons .com and the site’s Father’s Day deals.

Want a chance to make your dad’s day this Father’s Day? Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a $300 Cabela’s shopping spree.
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body shape, body type, daily outfit, dress, giveaways, jacket

Dress for Your Body Type with Monroe and Main

May 17, 2015
This is a Fashionista Event Opportunity with Monroe and Main, and is hosted by Still Blonde after all these YEARS and Modly Chic.  #dressyourbodytype

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One of the things that I think is crucial to dressing well is taking a little time to take your own measurements. Learning exactly what shape you are based on the findings of a tape measure, not our own personal assessment in the mirror, will help you be able to weed through the plethora of styles and cuts available today in order to pick the very best items for you and your shape.

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I’ve written about this before in a post entitled: Taking My Measurements – an eye-opening experience, with Monroe and Main I got the chance to take my measurements again and then to construct an outfit based on my findings.  I’m still a rectangle/box – which means my chest, waist and hips don’t differentiate enough to be any other shape. Dressing for a box is actually easier than it might sound, because basically I need to concentrate on creating the illusion of a waist. (Hence the reason I wear jackets very often.)

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For me, the illusion of a waist usually means going with a basic color – like black and then adding an interesting element to the top of bottom to make it look like I am not all one size all the way down. The addition of this floral denim jacket gives the appearance of a waist where the bottom of the jacket collides with the black of the dress.

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Not sure what shape you are? Not sure how to even go about figuring it out? Not to worry. Monroe and Main has that part covered. The WI-based company developed a How To Dress Your Body Type Kit for all the Fashionista Bloggers participating in this campaign. The company has also created a 4-part series of infographics to walk you through the process of dressing according to your body type.

That’s pretty handy, right?

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So, let’s talk about Shapewear for a moment. I fully admit that I spent years being anti shapewear of all types. I even hated nylons and tights because they were restrictive. But now under most dresses I’m wearing some kind of shapewear. For me, it’s a matter of smoothing everything out to avoid awkward bumps, panty lines, etc.. Plus, shapewear helps the outer garments flow the way they are meant to. Usually I’m in some generic shapewear from a large retailer, but I snagged up this body suit to go with a number of summer dresses. It’s comfortable and easy to wear, which of course is always a bonus, and it certainly does the job of smoothing everything out.

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And, as if I don’t have enough to say about Monroe and Main, this Convertible Diva Dress is bound to be a frequent flyer this summer. It’s one of those versatile dresses that can literally be styled a dozen different ways by wrapping, twisting, and tying the ‘sleeves’ in different fashions. The dress is a strapless midi with two long ribbons that come off the back, or front depending on how you want to wear the dress. Monroe and Main even sends a useful guide illustrating different ways to style the dress.

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Do you want a chance to figure out your body type and then shop accordingly? You are in luck! I’ve got a $185 giveaway from Monroe and Main, and so do 24 other bloggers. You’ll get your very own How To Dress Your Body Type Kit as well as money to spend on shapewear and a new outfit from Monroe and Main! Use the rafflecopter to enter.

 
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Need further inspiration? Want to see how other bloggers went about identifying their body shape and then dressing accordingly? Use the linky below to hop around for more inspiration and more chances to win a shopping spree to Monroe and Main. Need even more inspiration? Monroe and Main has a Pinterest board on How To Dress Your Body Type.


 

dress, giveaways

Karina Dresses Frockstar Giveaway May, Part II

May 16, 2015
I’m part of the Karina Dresses Frockstar Giveaway blogger group. Karina Dresses provides me with a dress to review and this twice-monthly giveaway. All opinions are my own.

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We’re mid-way through May and that means the start of a new Karina Dresses Frockstar™ Giveaway. For this go-round, as with all of them, one lucky winner will receive SIX new Karina Dresses. The giveaway runs through the end of May and then another begins at the start of June. Yay!

Here are two different takes on the Peggy style!

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I’m telling you, my closet is so full of Karina Dresses and every time a new one arrives in the mail I’m even more excited to create an outfit around it and then see it paired with its sisters in the closet. Every morning is a great debate over which Karina dress I’ll slip on that day.

Karina Dresses is constantly innovating its dresses – both in style and pattern. Over the last several months I’ve tried a whole variety of different dresses as well as a lot of the same dress in different patterns. I’m donned the Megan, as well as the Rita and the Carolyn and the Gala and a different looking Megan.

Can you see the crazy diversity that this dress company has in stock? Dresses and patterns change for each season so that the look is always fresh and current.

Want to own some of these for your own?? Use the giveaway entry widget below to enter for your chance to add SIX new dresses to your closet this season!

Karina Dresses has a newsletter you will want to get in your inbox. Each weekly newsletter has a winner of a new dress selected from the email subscribers. You have to open the email to see if it is you! In addition to giveaways, The Karina Dresses newsletter also has flash sales with the hottest prints at almost 50% off! To make this newsletter even more desirable to join, if you sign up and confirm your subscription (or are already a subscriber and enter this giveaway) you will be entered into the sweepstakes for $1000 in Karina Dresses! Are you ready to join the Karina Nation? Subscribe here!

If you are a blogger and you would like to do a review of a Karina Dress, they choose their reviewers from their affiliates! You can sign up to be an affiliate here.

daily outfit, dress, jacket

Another Peggy Dress, this time in polka dots

May 14, 2015
I was provided this dress by Karina in order to give my honest opinion as one of the Karina Dresses Frockstar™ event bloggers. All opinions are my own, obviously. #frockstar

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Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
Cami: Niki Biki
Jacket: Kohls
Shoes: DSW
Bracelets: BCBG and Claire’s
Earrings: Charming Charlie

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Last month I loved the pattern, style and feel of the Peggy dress so much, I ordered another one for this round of the Karina Dresses May giveaway! This time, instead of opting for bold colors and a bright pattern I went with the subtle black dress with light pink polka dots.

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For Karina Dresses, which is all about the patterns and colors, this is as close as it comes to a Little Black Dress. It was easy to pair this with the light pink denim jacket and add a little element of interest with the floral shoes. Later, in the warmer weather, I’ll be sure to wear this with black wedge sandals and perhaps a simple cardigan.

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Like this dress or any of the dozen others I’ve featured on the blog over the last year? Stay tuned. In a few days there will be another Karina Dresses giveaway, giving you the chance to win SIX dresses of your own. And may I recommend the Peggy and the Ruby? They are my two favorite styles – hands down!

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Get social with Karina

Sign up for Karina Dress Newsletter. And if you are a blogger and you would like to do a review of a Karina Dress, they choose their reviewers from their affiliates! You can sign up to be an affiliate here: http://bit.ly/KDAffiliate

hair

5 Hair Thickening Shampoos To Try

May 14, 2015
This is a sponsored post.

Hair is definitely an important aspect of one’s personality and, let’s be honest, can often make or break the overall look. With my thick mop of curls I often get asked if I do something to make my hair thicker and fuller. The answer is no. But, I do know a lot of women need a little extra help in the hair thickening department. Enter hair thickening shampoo.

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In simple terms a hair thickening shampoo, which can also be called volumizing shampoo, helps to give a fuller and more voluminous look to your hair by swelling the hair strands temporarily. Since there are wide range of these shampoos by various manufacturers in the market selecting a best and the most effective one is definitely a challenging task. Below are 5 shampoos you could try:

5 Hair Thickening Shampoos:

KeraFiber Hair Thickening Shampoo:
One of the leading brands in Hair Fibers segment, KeraFiber Hair Thickening Shampoo claims to be really effective and is formulated for the ones who have thin, limp and dull hair. The Keratin proteins present in this shampoo reaches to the cortex of the hair and gives volume as well as strength to your hair. The shampoo can be used by men as well as women and contains no harmful ingredients like parabens, silicone oil, phosphate, ethylene oxide or mineral oil. Regular use of this shampoo cleanses your hair gently and keeps them healthy and shining. When used along with KeraFiber Hair Thickening Conditioner the results are even better.

L’Oreal Volume Filler Thickening Shampoo:
The Advanced Hair care range of products from L’Oreal is aimed for people who wish to have thick and volume infused hair. The Volume Filler hair thickening shampoo from this range is made using ingredients that work by penetrating hair fiber from the root to the tip of the hair, thus making them look healthy and voluminous. There is a whole range of products in this line to work with.

Pantene Pro-V Full & Thick Shampoo:
The Pantene Pro-V Full & Thick Shampoo works effectively by making the hair healthy and voluminous. Regular use of shampoo also makes your hair smooth and soft. It works for all types of hair. This one smells pretty amazing too.

Nexxus Diametress Luscious Hair Thickening Shampoo:
Nexxus Diametress Luscious Hair Thickening Shampoo is one of the best in its category since it is capable of adding volume to almost all styles. The shampoo not only makes your hair look thicker but also makes it shiny, softer and more manageable.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Thickening Shampoo:
Kiehl’s Ultimate Thickening Shampoo is a good product for those with lifeless thin hair. It works to create a fuller look, while also making your hair healthy and soft. This one has a minty smell that is soothing and effervescent.

bloggers, blogging, how-to, tips

Be Original. Be Yourself. – Second Habit of the Highly Effective Blogger

May 10, 2015

As promised, here is the second article on the series detailing my take on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers. You can check out the full list here and then check back every Sunday for a new detailed article on a specific habit.

The First Habit of a Highly Effective Blogger…. Be Original. Be Yourself.

I realize the irony of saying ‘Be original’ as I steal the idea of the 7 Habits but actually that works into my whole explanation for this second habit of an effective blogger. Read on…

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What it looks like when you are a cloned blogger….

  • Tries to be just like another blogger or a number of other bloggers. There is no differentiating factor, subject, content, etc…
  • Lacks serious originality.
  • Uses the voice of another instead of taking the time to develop her/his own voice and style.
  • The blog design, colors, layout, looks like every other blog out there. A reader would be unable to tell the difference between your blog and a dozen others.
  • Steals another’s voice or content without adding anything of her own.
  • Plagiarizes content, claiming as her/his own. (Don’t even get me started on this one! As a blogger it drives me absolutely INSANE!)

What it looks like when you are a unique blogger…

  • Knows his/her own voice and uses it on all content. This includes not only blog posts but also all social media channels, etc…
  • Offers a personal, unique perspective of what others may have already covered.
  • Avoids posting something just because others are doing it. Maybe everyone else is writing about award show fashion but if it doesn’t work with your content, message, voice you ignore it.
  • Each post is stamped with the bloggers originality.
  • Borrows ideas from others but always with his or her own spin on things. (Hence how I can use the 7 Habits taking another’s idea and flipping it to be my own.)

How to become an original, unique blogger….

Work hard at developing your own voice. As a journalist, this is something we work at all four years in college. We try hard to develop our own tone while sticking with all the usual, expected rules of writing. My writing tone tends to be fun and casual, certainly not very formal. I’ve worked hard at developing the conversational tone with all my writing over the years. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. You need to work at it. Write, write and write some more.

Keep your content and voice focused on your blog content, on your niche. The coordination of voice and content are crucial to a well-written blog. Just imagine if a business-oriented Wall Street Journal article took a casual voice in reporting, or if Lucky Magazine read more like a business publication. The voice and content combined are essential and something it’s important to work on developing over the years. It’s okay. It takes time.

 

accessory, giveaways, necklace

Personalized Jewelry and a oNecklace Giveaway

May 8, 2015
This is a Fashionista Events opportunity. I was provided a product from oNeckalce to honestly review. Fashionista events is co-hosted by yours truly and Still Blonde After All These Years. #FashionistaEvents

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A couple years ago the whole monogrammed initials became a big thing. That was followed by the initial pendants and then a whole plethora of personalized jewelry. I suppose part of that trend is the desire to wear something that is unique to you. oNecklace takes this trend a step further because it allows you to not only wear something that is unique to you, but also have a role in the design of that item. Forget combing through racks trying to find your initial, or paying an arm and a leg to have something custom made. oNecklace let’s you do it all and at a super reasonable price.

Earlier in the Spring I reviewed the name pendant that I had custom made to read KatyRose. While that isn’t the name I go by with family and friends, it is the name I use on the blog (that’s a long story). I liked the idea of having this pendant that I could wear to blog events, pair with other necklaces in an outfit post, etc… Not only did oNecklace let me pick the letters I wanted written on this necklace, including the random R capitalization in the middle of what should have, but there are also many different fonts to choose from. I could have picked bold block letters or a really curly cue script.

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And oNecklace doesn’t stop there. There are monogrammed rings, I have one on the way to me in the mail right now, as well as bracelets. There are necklace designs that will allow moms to showcase their children’s names. The sky’s the limit, well almost.

Want to check out oNecklace for yourself? I’m giving away a $50 giftcode to the site, and 24 other bloggers are doing that as well! That means you have 25 chances to win 25 different $50 giftcodes. Awesome, right?! Use the rafflecopter below to enter my giveaway and then use the linky below that to hop around to the different giveaways.

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bag, daily outfit, jacket, pants, purse

NYC Speaker Attire

May 6, 2015

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Pants: Express
Shirt: Target
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Christian Siriano
Bracelets: Claire’s
Earrings: Charming Charlie
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Bag: Adora Bags

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One of the hardest things about speaking in front of an audience, especially speaking about fashion- and blog-related topics, is figuring out what to wear. Of course, as a teacher I now go through this trauma a little bit every day when I stand in front of my closet and consider each outfit with the context of standing in from of my students. But for a conference the nervous factor is magnified a hundredfold.

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When speaking before an audience there are so many things to consider about the outfit and what it is communicating. You need to seem knowledgeable on the subject matter. You need to come across as current, modern. You need to be approachable so that people feel comfortable engaging and asking questions. You need to be comfortable in the whole outfit so that you don’t spend too much mental power rethinking, worrying, adjusting, etc… You need to dress according to the social norm of the conference, which personally I think can be one of the hardest elements. You need to consider the style or tone of the place in which you are speaking – a Midwest high school classroom is very different from an FIT classroom for a fashion conference.

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So, after a lot of debate, numerous outfit try-ons and mirror selfies, I opted with this combination for the Fashion Intelligence Symposium in Manhattan. (You can check out the basics of my presentation on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers.) It was comfortable, modern, easy to move in, a little fashion forward without being insane, approachable but still commanding. Plus it was a great outfit to transition from the conference to dinner with some blogger friends, which is where these photos were all taken. (I still don’t have any from the conference itself yet.)

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bloggers, blogging, tips

Stay Focused – First Habit of the Highly Effective Blogger

May 3, 2015

As promised, here is the first article on the series detailing my take on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers. You can check out the full list here and then check back every Sunday for a new detailed article on a specific habit.

The First Habit of a Highly Effective Blogger…. Stay Focused

I realize this might sound a little strange coming from me… the girl who blogs about food, fitness, fashion, travel and blogging. BUT this is a lifestyle blog, which means I get to write about the things that matter most to me. And there are things that I do not blog about. There are a lot of things I don’t blog about – online gaming, casinos, award shows, celebrities, politics, current events, etc…

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What it looks like when you are an unfocused blogger:

  • No single niche or topic of interest.
  • Blog about anything and everything while not truly being an expert in anything.
  • Lack voice and a vision for the blog.
  • Cannot say no to an opportunity, takes on everything and anything that comes your way.
  • Stretches self too thin by trying to write about everything, attempting to attend every event, struggling to be active on every social media site, etc…
  • BASICALLY: You are all over the map!

What it looks like when you are a focused blogger:

  • Has a niche or topic that all posts revolve around.
  • Remains single-minded on the topic.
  • Graciously says no to opportunities that might be great (monetarily or otherwise) but don’t fit in to that niche field.
  • Prioritizes blogging extras – knows when it is important to attend an event, knows what social media to utilize and what to ignore for the moment.

How to become a focused blogger…

I fully admit, this is not an overnight thing. For many of us bloggers, it is a constant struggle to stay true to the voice and vision. There are many times in the past when I went with something that I thought was trendy or an absolute must in blogging. I’ve randomly covered celebrity fashion. I was tempted to post a casino guest post because the company was willing to pay a lot of money. It takes time.

The key is to always go back and ask yourself, “Does this content work with the entire mission of my blog? Is it a clear representation of what I write about and how I want my blog to be perceived?” If the answer is no, then simply walk away. If the answer is a maybe it’s probably best to also walk away, although there may be times when you can find a way to bring the content around to being in your vision and niche.

Prioritizing is also really important. I know a lot of new bloggers who jump in feet first, create a social media account on every platform, have great plans to blog daily and market the hell out of each post. After a month or two, or even six, they are burned out and their great blog has been abandoned out of sheer blogger burn-out. It’s okay not to have a Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Snapchat, Ello, etc… account. Pick the ones you are best at, the ones you enjoy the most and focus on those! (But more on marketing later in this series!)

Most importantly, we’re always learning. So learn as you go. Learn from your failures and your successes so that the next post is always better than the previous one.