Lilly Ladies, it’s almost go time!

If you’ve spent any time at all on Instagram this week and follow the fashionistas of the world, you know there’s been one big trending topic: the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale. Lilly fans live for this sale; this precious moment that comes only but twice a year. Lilly rarely goes on sale and even when it does, the steep discounts are few and far between and finding your size sometimes seems impossible. But not when it comes to the After Party Sale.

There is no better time to purchase that shift dress you’ve been eyeing or that popover Santa forgot to bring you. Almost all of the clothes I wore on a recent holiday trip to Southwest Florida were purchased the last time around during the August sale and the savings were, in the words of our president elect, HUGE.

Here are a few quick tips to take into consideration if you’re planning to join in on the party:

  • Set-up your Lilly account tonight: make sure you’re logged into the account and ready to go. The sale starts promptly at 8:00 a.m. ET. Ladies from around the globe will be logging on at that time, causing a site traffic overload; don’t be discouraged if you get put into the entry queue (which will probably happen). It’ll be worth the wait.
  • Get a gameplan: Some items like the popovers will go fast, so the object of the game is to know what you want ahead of time. Just because an item is in your cart does not guarantee it will be available when you go to purchase, so don’t waste time pursing the site. If you identify the items you want beforehand you can simply find them and buy them quickly. You can always go back for more later once your “must haves” have been purchased.
  • Be size wise: All sales are final so make sure you know your size in advance. Not sure what one is right for you? Run to your nearest Lilly tonight and try on the styles you are eyeing!
  • Define a budget: trust me when I say it’s easy to go a little crazy with this sale (I’m speaking for a friend…). As hard as it is, set a limit for yourself. Just because you love it does not mean you need it.
  • Have fun!

Below are some of the fantastic deals I picked up during the last sale for some inspiration. Happy shopping, ladies! Here’s the official FAQ if you need more deets: https://www.lillypulitzer.com/content.jsp?pageName=salefaq

Neveah One Shoulder Top / Originally $54 / After Party Price $19

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Calissa Sleeveless Double V-Neck Dress / Originally $178 / After Party Sale Price $59

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Tybee Sleeveless Romper / Originally $158 / After Party Sale Price $54

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Elsa Top – So A Peeling / Originally $158 / After Party Sale $69

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There’s No Place Like Home(stead) for the Holidays

You’d think the awe and wonder of a vacation destination would diminish a bit after three visits but it’s just the opposite with the Omni Homestead Resort. Nestled into the scenic mountains of Hot Springs, Virginia, is a magnificent 250-year-old structure that boasts a rich history and impressive roster of past visitors, including 23 U.S. presidents.

The drive up the mountainous terrain can be a bit daunting, but any knots in your stomach will disappear as soon as you begin to see the outline of the resort above the hill. I’ve only visited during the month of December and though I have no doubt the place would look beautiful any time of year, there are few locations in the world that get me in the holiday spirit quite like the Homestead. Guests are greeted by the friendly staff and as soon as the doors opened, you’ll be instantly immersed into a winter wonderland. The fire-place filled Great Hall is adorned with a massive live Christmas tree, anchored by boxes of wrapped presents (if only they were real and filled with shoes!).

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With endless activities and top-notch amenities, the Homestead is the perfect destination for any occasion – a family vacation, girls’ getaway or romantic weekend. Guests can take a wagon ride through the mountains, shoot skeet and shotguns, golf, horseback ride and much more. If you’re the type of person who can’t sit still on vacation, look into the Unlimited Activities package but if you want to only do one-or-two things, piece meal is the way to go. Make sure to save time (and room in your belly) for afternoon tea and cake, served each day.

It can be hard to relax in the hustle of the holidays, so my mom and I took a day to do absolutely nothing but be spoiled in the spa. With any 50-minute service you’ll have access to the aqua terminal suite that has four stations including saunas and scented chill showers. I was a little skeptical of the ice shower but it was seriously awesome when followed-up by the hot chair and sauna. Pure relaxation!

It’s definitely not cheap to eat on the resort but if you’re feeling fancy, do one dinner in the Main Dining Room for an elegant setting – and bring your dancing shoes! Plan ahead though during winter months as this room is only open on weekends. There are several awesome local restaurants nearby and accessible via shuttle like Lindsay’s Roost Bar and Grill and Country Café. Or, hop in your car and up the road a short bit to Cucci’s for pizza or the Waterwheel for a more elegant, yet rustic experience. The latter is about 10 minutes away in Warm Springs but well worth the trip – there is a wine cellar where guests can select their bottle of wine for the evening or to take back to the resort (even half-finished bottles from dinner thanks to Virginia’s corking rule!).

My 76-year-old father is not impressed by many things in life, and the fact that by the third day he said the place was “starting to grow on him,” means that you’ve all got to get to the Homestead and experience it for yourself!

What places have you visited that just put you right into the holiday sprint?

Here are the details on my outfits from the trip!

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This Tommy Hilfiger dress is perfect for the holidays and at a price of $19.99 from Ross, it was a no-brainer, despite my attempts to not shop for myself this holiday season. The Aldo boots are also from Ross.

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img_1887Seemed like the ideal place to take the tags off of this $25 winter white Jessica Simpson coat.

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Nighttime was for lounging up by the fireplace, with a after-dinner cocktail, PJs and conversations with my momma. These Vermont Store fannel pajamas are the absolute best.

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img_1932This cold shoulder top is from Target and the jeans, which are some of the most comfortable I’ve ever had, came from Old Navy.

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To say I love this velvet-embellished dress is an understatement. Picked it up on post-winter clearance last season at Dillard’s for just $35!

 

Cyber Monday Motivation

There’s something nostalgic about standing in the long Black Friday lines, brazing the cold morning temps and waiting for the doors to swing open – with deals (and heat) awaiting. I’ll forever be one of those crazies but as of late, I’ve learned to temper my spending a bit to ensure I’ve got enough to splurge on the often even better Cyber Monday sales.

Case in point: this adorable striped dress picked up last year for only $10. To be honest I can’t even remember where it came from, but there was a plethora of sales promoted on Instagram that offered similar steep discounts. Keep on eye your feed next Monday, and on the prize.

Shoes: $69 from Nordstrom Rack / Choker: $14 from Apricot Lanedress

Sorority Recruitment Style Reenactment

I’m channeling back to the sorority days at USC with this ensemble. Back in college, I basically lived in everything pink and green and given that recruitment is getting started on campuses across the country, it only seems fitting.

These adorable Lilly shorts were purchased on clearance and Belk for just $42. Labor Day is always a great opportunity to score summer styles at steep discounted rates, so start stashing that spending money aside now.

The top was a Charming Charlie Spring item that I was able to pick up in July for just $10. Both the necklace and bag were also #CCstyle finds. The bag is the perfect size to carry around your life and never seems to get dirty despite the white color.

I decided to play down the style with a pair of white Keds, but the outfit could be a tad more formal with a nice pair of sandals or white wedges.

Major retailers are in the midst of summer markdowns but if you’re patient, they’ll only get better in the coming weeks. A bunch of states also offered Tax Free shopping this past weekend, but there are still a few coming down the pipeline like Connecticut and Maryland. Maybe it’s worth making the trip;)shortsPicshorts

Freedom, fireworks & fashion

One of the genes passed down from my beautiful momma is a love for all things navy. Fortunately, the trait comes in handy this time of year because I’m never short on patriotic pairings.

At first glance, this tunic looks red, white and blue, right? It’s not, but with a few accessories and a dose of American pride, the eye will see what it wants. The red lining is actually a bright fuchsia! It was just $29.99 at T.J. Maxx. The necklace was on clearance from Charming Charlie’s and the earrings came from Wal-mart at a cost of $3. The cream-colored bag is the most expensive item at $34, but I couldn’t resist when it came to my doorstep via StitchFix!

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Another outfit brought to you by T.J. Maxx. This anchor and lobster tank was under $20 and the linen shorts were just about $30. The shoes are by far the best part – red Cole Haan boat shoes for $29 at Costco and retailing at upwards of $50! The cooler was a clearance rack Marshalls find at the price of $12.

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I repurposed the festive shawl from Memorial Day, this time pairing it with red instead of blue. The nail polish was Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel and if you’ve ever tried it, you know how the name came about.

Hope y’all had a happy holiday with your favorite people!

xoxo

Memorial Day Mix-up

Hope y’all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and managed to soak up some sunny rays!

I’m trying, for the life of me, to get better about using the clothes I already own and styling them with different accessories for more mileage instead of buying new pieces.  Thanks to an insistent need to buy new things, I haven’t had too much luck sticking to that seemingly lofty goal but for now, baby steps.

My first attempt came in the form of a simple navy dress from Charming Charlie, paired with an American flag inspired shawl from Hamrick’s for Memorial Day.  Thanks to the versatility of the shawl, the two pieces could be dressed up, or dressed down, just by adding a few simple accessories.

Patriotism was in full force with the dressed down approach.  The causal look was played up by a pair of white Keds (available now for 40 percent off at Hamrick’s).  The red, white and blue necklace, along with the white rope bangles, were also found at Hamrick’s.

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For a more chic look, the shawl can be transformed into a scarf.  I paired it with a floppy blue and white striped hat from Ross.  Although the selection is getting slim this year of year, if you’re still looking for a similar style hat for those sunny days, Ross would be a great place to look first.  This one was only $7.99!  The red loafers also came from there.  Keeping with the theme of cheap finds, the red bracelet was just $3.00 from Hamrick’s.  The clutch came from StitchFix and though a bit out of my normal price range, I didn’t have the heart to send it back.

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What tricks do you have for repurposing certain styles?!

 

Rompin’ Around Town

I love the classy look of this navy and floral romper from Canadian fashion designer, Katherine Barclay. Just $24.99 at T.J. Maxx, the piece bottoms up the front offering full coverage with only a small opening at the top, a belt for better shaping, and the essential for any romper – pockets. It’s sleeveless but also looks great with a cardi on top for chillier days.

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For any denim lovers out there, you’ve gotta find these heels. The sandal straps are a light denim and the base is tan. Only $19.99, also from T.J. Maxx.

I’ve moved away from big bags lately but the print paired well with this coral crossbody and it didn’t take long for the love to be rekindled. It’s just so handy to throw everything into a big bag!

Happy Shoesday Tuesday, y’all!

Orange you glad the week is almost over?

This Jessica Simpson dress is named Cherry Cherry but the only connection I can draw is that of a non-ripe version of the fruit and even that’s a stretch. It’s a spot-on shade of orange for any Auburn or UVA fan, and pairs perfectly with colors equally as vibrant. I opted to tone it down with navy.

Retailing at $89, this dress was picked up at Ross for just $29. My office is located right around the bend from Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, so needless to say I usually try to eat lunch at my desk to avoid the temptation of a mid-day shopping adventure. On this particular day, I failed. But at least it was a good deal!

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The necklace and earring set are a few years old but tend to be one of my frequent go-to combos because of the versatility of the color.

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The bracelet came from a Today Show Steals and Deals a few years back but again, always seems to be something I gravitate back toward. The clutch is a recent purchase from Charming Charlie.

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The flats, also found at Ross, were only $12 and felt worn-in immediately. Super comfy and ease to slip on and off. On a side note, please pay no attention to the weird coloring of my feet. It was my attempt at Jergens Natural Glow Tanning – great product but not such a valiant effort on my part to blend it in. Lesson learned. Have y’all ever tried it? Would love to know the secret to better blending!

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My Best Friend’s Indian Wedding

Ten years ago I moved in with a complete stranger – one with a name I wasn’t even certain how to pronounce.  We knew nothing about each other and only talked once before setting out with our families to find a place to live.  We settled in a borderline ghetto apartment off the campus of the University of South Carolina – right up the street from a homeless center (whose residents we would one day meet at our door).  If our surroundings weren’t going to take us out, our lack-of-homemaking skills were certainly enough to leave our families fearing for our survival.  But somehow, like all college students, we learned to live.

The moments after our parents pulled away, the very first few we had alone, set the stage for what turned out to be an unbreakable bond.  We had a super small box TV with limited reception.  The only thing on was a Richard Simmons exercise video.  So we did what any strangers would do – we looked at each other, got up, and starting sweating with the oldies.  From there the rest was history.  Barkha became the little sister I never had, though all too often, she was so much wiser than I.

We used to talk about the weddings we would one day have.  As a first generation here is the states, her plan was to return to her parents’ homeland of India when that day came.  But, time changes everything.  A few years back, she met an amazing Indian man with a huge personality and name that could not be more fitting for a person who always seems to have a smile on his face – Sunny.

Instead of making the trip to India for their nuptials, Barkha and Sunny brought their traditions, celebrations and family to Florence, South Carolina, for an unbelievable three-day, 5-outfit changes, event.

The first night is the henna tattoo night, or Mendi.  On this night we learned never again to ask an Indian, “Is this spicy?”  Their anwser will likley be no but if you’re brave enough to try, make sure you’ve got a bottle of water (or five) on hand.

Outfit Details: This maxi was a Black Friday deal from Instagram – just $10!

The next morning was the Manglik Prasango – it’s essentially a pre-wedding ceremony filled with prayers and activities that purify and cleanse the bride and groom (their events are held separately).  A turmeric power mixture was spread on Barkha’s face and arms via family members.  The yellow dress she’s wearing has to be discarded afterwards; she can never wear it again, even as beautiful as it is!

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Outfit Details: Adrianna Papell dress retailed at $189 and found at Belk after-season clearance for $35. Jewelery set just $6 from Burlington. 

Later that evening was Garba Raas.  For hours upon hours, guests dance in a circular formation to a series of synchronized steps.  I was able to wear a traditional Indian outfit that night but as if my blonde hair didn’t say “I’m not Indian enough,” the fact that I took out a row of chairs because I was not used to the shawl definitely made it clear!

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Outfit details: Big Buddha Bag (retails for $79) found at Hamrick’s for only $30.

The big day came on Saturday and if you think a Catholic wedding is long, it has nothing on an Indian wedding.  The ceremony started at 10:30 a.m. with Sunny making his way to the Civic center with a majestic white horse among family and friends singing and dancing; the whole shebang ended around 2:00.

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Outfit Details: This amazing three-piece set was handmade in India and given to us as a gift from the bride. 

By the time evening rolled around, it was time to party – and man can those Indians party!

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Outfit details: No special deal on this Cachet dress but sometimes you’ve just got to splurge. The Jessica Simpson Beryl Glitter Platform sandals were on clearance at Dillards for $35, but you can find them still at Lord & Taylor for $53. The rose gold earrings also came from a clearance rack at Dillards, just $7. 

From start to finish, this was one of the coolest experiences of my life but the best part was seeing two incredible, genuine, driven, insert any other positive attributes you can think of here, begin the next chapter of their lives together.

Winter Beauty Woes Solved

For those of us on the East Coast, it seemed as though we might sneak through the winter months unscathed by Mother Nature but alas, she’s about to remind us that she’s been here all long, just waiting to be reacquainted.

Hopefully many of you are still tracking against your new year’s resolution of getting/staying in shape (and not a resolution drop-out like me!) but it’s important to remember that during this time of year, there is more to take care of than just your muscle.  The cold temps and harsh winds can do a lot of damage to your skin, hair, etc., so it’s better to be proactive.  Here are a few of my favorite products:

Face:

It’s beneficial to apply moisturizer on a daily basis all year long, but the practice is especially vital when the wind is all too often whipping in your face.  I recommend Eminence Bright Skin Moisturizer, packed with 30 SPF.  I was inspired to try Eminence, a hand-made, organic line, because of Today Show host Tamron Hall and have been thoroughly impressed.

The 30 SPF is another key here.  Just because it is cold does not mean the sun has stopped emitting harmful rays!  If you elect to go with a non-SPF moisturizer, just make sure you top it off with an SPF lotion.

Lips:

Keep those smackers smooth with a lip balm or moisturizer.  You don’t need anything fancy, even drug store products like eos lip balm or Chapstick will get the job done.  Though not as cost-efficient, I do recommend LipSmart – another natural product that’ll keep you lips healthy and hydrated.

Skin & Hands:

My hands are constantly feeing for moisture, so I keep a bottle of lotion sitting next to my desk at all times.  Even for parts unexposed during the winter, like arms and legs, it’s good to stay well-lathered.

Eos body lotion is as awesome as its lip balm and does not come with a hefty price tag.  I was lucky enough to come across an entire eos gift pack on post-holiday clearance at Target for just $2.99 (originally $8) that included body lotion and hand cream.

Another go-to natural product is Dr. Scheller Hand Balm; it leaves your hands feeling smooth and not greasy which is often an issue with many hand cream varieties.

Nails:

Nails can be extra brittle due to the dry air this time of year, especially if they’re not painted, so it’s a best to reinforce them with a nail strengthener.  I prefer Sally Hansen – cheap and gets the job done!

Hair:

Some experts recommend a deep condition at least once a week in winter months.  I never have the patience to put on the conditioner, wait for it to absorb and then rinse it off awhile later so I opt for a leave-in conditioner instead.  It’s a 10 is my absolute favorite.

Throwing on a beanie is always another quick and easy layer of protection.

Stay warm, lovies!