Pretty Peach

I am forever in love with the color combination of black and pale pink or peach.  It's such a soft and romantic combo and feels classic in a vintage French lingerie kind of way.
Dress:  Ann Taylor Petites (Available here)

Blazer:  LOFT Petites (Similar here)
Peach and other soft colors like this can really wash out my skin tone, but I think this shade works really well.  Pairing the shift dress with a black blazer also helps keep more color towards the face.
Necklace:  Ann Taylor (Similar here)
Purse:  Express

This blazer is a great spring/summer work blazer as it is lightweight.  It's perfect for keeping warm in frigid office A/C without making me sweat to death in the sweltering summertime heat and humidity.
Shoes:  Prabal Gurung for Target
Bracelets:  New York & Company & Express (NY&CO bracelet available here)
Do you like the color combination of black and peach/pink?


Saffron and Navy

Happy Thursday, everyone!!

Today, I'm featuring a saffron yellow dress from Eva Mendes for New York & Company. The dress is the same shape/style as a leopard dress I already have.  I normally don't like having duplicates of the same look, but I fell in love with this vibrant and gorgeous color and I'm a big fan of the easy shape of this dress.
Dress:  Eva Mendes for New York & Company (Available here)
Bag:  The Limited
After getting the dress in the mail though, I second guessed myself.  Was it too yellow?  Would I look like Big Bird?  LOL 

I had already decided to keep it, but after I asked my step-daughter what she thought, I was sure in my decision.  She said, "That's a great yellow!  It looks like the sun!"  Being the sun worshiper that I am, how could I resist?  Besides, she did inform me that Big Bird is her favorite bird!!  :-)
Blazer:  The Limited
Necklaces:  Target & The Limited
To tone down the yellow a bit for work (and because the dress requires some shoulder alterations), I threw on my navy military jacket and added camel heels. 
Bracelets:  Target and New York & Company (NY&CO bracelet available here)
I love the overall look, and pairing it with navy makes me realize that this yellow will work well into the fall, so I should get a lot of wear out of it.
Heels:  Target
Are you a fan of saffron yellow???

For the blazer in other looks, see here, here, here, and here.


Sacred Spaces

Do you have a place you like to go to feed your soul? A place that makes you feel alive and connected?  A place that lets you bask in solitude while never feeling lonely?  A place that is romantic, sad, happy, and uplifting all at the same time?
Dress:  eShakti (Available here)
Bracelet:  New York & Company (Available here)
For me, that place is Cahokia Mounds.  Cahokia Mounds is often regarded as the largest pre-historic Native American settlement north of Mexico and was inhabited by the Mississipian culture.  I was lucky enough to grow up walking distance from the remnants of this intriguing civilization.   The largest mound is Monk's Mound, the largest man-made earthen structure in the western hemisphere.  It has a staircase that takes you up to the top for a view of the St. Louis cityscape, local farms, and industry.
View from the bottom - The first level of Monk's Mound (side view)
View from the bottom - Top level of Monk's Mound (side view)
View from the top:  St. Louis skyline in the distance
My grandpa was an honorary Sioux and had a large Native American artifact collection (most of which was found locally) that attracted the occasional archaeology professor to him.  He was not a schooled man, but he was the most brilliant man I ever met.  He taught me a strong appreciation for ancient cultures and history as well as a love and respect for modern diversity that I attribute to bringing me to the fields of anthropology and then sociology as a college student.  I attended several powwows with him as a kid, and I've always seen the Mounds as a special place in part because of the connection to him.  When he left us a couple of years ago, some of his ashes were spread at the Mounds, making this place infinitely more sacred to me.

As a child, the Mounds was simply a fun place to go on school field trips or on outings with my mom or grandparents.  I was fascinated by Woodhenge, wooden posts in circular shapes that served as calendars and observation/ceremonial centers for changing seasons.  I imagined what this area would have looked like before so much of the Mississippi river bluffs were cut down for human expansion, and I wondered what it would have been like to live in the urban center of Cahokia.

One of the circles, re-built in its original location
As a young adult, the power of nature and the significance of this place was shown to me.  I was twenty-five.  I was pregnant with my son.  I was single, lonely, scared, sad, and confused.  Mixed up in a toxic off-again relationship, I thought my world was imploding.  I knew that I loved my unborn child more than anything, but I just didn't have the confidence that I could make it by myself. 

I went to the Mounds alone to attend a powwow.  I walked around the various booths and took in the sights, smells, and sounds of the event.  I couldn't shake my emotional distress though and fearful thoughts came flooding in.  Walking around, I suddenly became acutely aware of the natural energy around me, and I opened myself up to taking it in.  I felt the power of nature take over - I felt the sun on my skin and the force of the wind course through me.  I felt the connectedness of all life, and it was at that moment that I smiled, tears in my eyes, and I knew that everything would be okay.

Moccasins:  Minnetonka (kids) (Available at Rosa's Lost Treasure Chest)
Necklaces:  LOFT and The Limited
Now, everything wasn't all rainbows and unicorns after this, of course, but that moment was life changing and soul-affirming.  And, it only makes perfect sense that several years later, on the first "date" with my love, that we went to the Mounds, and my then three-year-old son took his hand and called him "daddy."  :-)

It feels a little weird to have such deep love for a place, but when a space has meant so many things over the years, it is impossible not to feel a soul connection.
A Portion of the Rebuilt Stockades
Do you have a sacred space?

For this dress in another look, see here.


Preppy Poppy

Hi everyone!

Today on the blog, I'm featuring a recent work look that was definitely a step away from my typical style.
Skirt:  The Limited (old)
Blazer:  Outback Red by The Limited (Similar here)
I love classic pieces, but I usually like adding a little edge or romance to what I am wearing.  I don't usually go for preppy looks, but I thought this was a fun, nautical-inspired venture away from the norm.
Blouse:  The Limited
I've had this skirt for a few years now, but I don't wear it a lot.  I can never decide if it needs to be hemmed about an inch, and while I like the skirt, it never feels quite like "me."

I usually look at it and think how I should wear it more.  The stripes on this skirt are dark navy, so I am able to wear it with navy or black, making it a fairly versatile piece.
Shoes:  Target (old) (Similar here)
While the overall look has a preppy polish that is perfect for work, the bag keeps the look fun and helps make it a little more me.

Tote:  Ruben & Isabel Toledo for Lane Bryant
Bracelets:  Zoppini and The Limited
Are you a fan of preppy looks?

For this skirt in another look, see here.
For this blouse in another look, see here.
for this blazer in other looks, see here, here, here, and here.


Polka Dots and Neon Pink

Hope your weekend has been going well.

Today, I'm featuring a new outfit - this on-trend crop top and tea-length skirt from eShakti that somehow manages to look both retro and modern.

Outfit:  eShakti (Similar here)
Clutch:  The Limited
The neon pink heels and polka dot clutch add a fun flair, while the cutout adds a sexier edge to the sweet silhouette.

Tea-length skirts were a big trend on spring runways.  I wasn't sure if this length would work on my 4'9" frame, but I decided to give it a try.  

I think the A-line fit of this skirt works really well in this length, and I'm really happy with the comfortable, easy fit.  I think the skirt can easily be styled for work or for more casual situations, so I'm looking forward to playing around with it.
Heels:  Target
Usually, I am really happy with the fit from eShakti, but the fit on this top is definitely a little off.  I ordered this outfit once already, and the top was WAY too short, so I sent it back for a remake with some additional instructions.  This time, the length is a bit too long.  The sheer fabric on this top was also cut a bit too wide.  I may have a seam put down the middle to get rid of the excess fabric for a sleeker fit.
For today's look, I added some bold earrings and fun bracelets and rings for an evening edge.
Bracelets and Rings:  all The Limited
Earrings:  Prabal Gurung for Target
I'm joined on the blog today by my step-daughter Andrea.  She is finishing up second grade.  She loves science and learning about animals.  Annie loves climbing trees, playing on her tablet, watching TV, and exploring nature.  She loves fantasy and is a creative, super smart, and adventurous little girl.
Annie's outfit from Target
In fact, getting her to stand still for pictures is quite the challenge, so I let her break loose and I followed suit.  :-)

Would you rock a tea-length skirt and crop top?

P.S. eShakti was kind enough to provide an exclusive promo code for you, my dear readers! Use code 'stylecases' to save 10% off your order.  This code can be combined with most other codes and offers to save even more, and it can be re-used as often as you want now through 6/20/14.


The Classic Trench Revisioned

So, I've already spent a significant amount of time on the blog telling you all how much I love eShakti.  Their pieces range from classic to retro to bohemian to modern and are quickly becoming some of my favorites in my wardrobe. 

When eShakti offered to send me a sample to review, I eagerly accepted.  After contemplating several dresses, I went a different direction and chose the khaki trench.  

Trench coat:  c/o eShakti (Available here)
Skirt:  eShakti (Similar here)
I have been wanting a khaki trench coat for quite some time, but I had accepted that finding one that would easily work with my petite curvy frame just wasn't going to happen. 

When I realized that eShakti had trench coats available, I jumped at the chance to get have a trench custom fit for me.  

With sizes 0-36W available and the option to order based on your own measurements for just $7.50 more, you really can't get the wrong fit.  Also, if you're a first time customer, customizations are FREE!  They have a no-hassle return policy, and in my experience, excellent customer service.  If the fit happens to be off or you're not happy with a garment for any reason, you can return it for a refund or store credit.
Tank:  LOFT (Available here)
Shoes:  Simply Vera by Vera Wang (Available here)
On top of custom measurements, eShakti also offers custom styling options, which are free with custom sizing.  Rather than choosing the classic fit and style, I decided to go for a low hip length trench with 3/4 sleeves to give this basic piece a fashion-y twist.

I am loving the result!

Clutch:  The Limited
Bangles:  The Limited
For today's look, I paired my new trench with an eShakti pencil skirt and basic knit camisole.  The look feels classic and chic for work, but to really make it my own, I wanted to add a bit of a messy and edgy vibe.

I added in a metallic fringe necklace and curved spike earrings to give a little attitude to this look.
Necklace:  LOFT (Available here)
A few notes on the trench:  The cotton sateen is high-quality and has an excellent sheen.  Most of the details are those that you expect from a classic trench.  I was disappointed that the jacket isn't lined, as this would have greatly increased the quality factor.  I also wish it had pockets.  

That said, I am loving this jacket as a new modern basic for my wardrobe!  To customize this jacket even more, I'm considering swapping out the khaki buttons for black buttons.
Earrings:  Torrid (Available here)
How do you make classic pieces your own?

P.S.  eShakti was kind enough to provide an exclusive promo code for you, my dear readers!  Use code 'stylecases' to save 10% off your order. This code can be combined with most other codes and offers, and it can be re-used as often as you want now through 6/20/2014.

For this skirt in other looks, see here and here

** Disclaimer:  I was provided the custom fit trench from eShakti in exchange for review of the item.  All opinions are my own.

EShakti is on Facebook here or check them out on Pinterest here!


Laid-Back Sexy (Free the Tatas!!)

Recently, the man and I had a date night, and I wanted to feel sexy.

Dress:  Peter Som for Kohl's (Available here)
Sandals:  Target Kids
While my fiance is actually not that big of a fan of maxi dresses (he does like this one), I love them.  I think when they are low-cut and have a slit up the front like this one, they are very sexy. ;-D

I know that many larger-breasted women refuse to go sans bra, and I get it.  Wearing a bra can sometimes be more comfortable, and obviously, many situations require proper undergarments (like work, especially!).  I'm a 36DDD, so I get there may be a limitation to what I'm saying here, but don't you ever just want to set the girls free? LOL  

Cuff:  Express
Bracelets:  New York & Company (Available here) and The Limited
Maxi dresses scream summer, freedom, and easy glamour to me.  Wearing a bra with this dress would mean requiring a tank or another layer to cover the bra.  While that's a great option for wearing this dress during the day or out with the kids, on a date night, I say grin and bare it!  
Purse:  The Limited
A few notes on tailoring and fit:  The dress was too long when I purchased it, so I had it hemmed.  Because it is cut for a taller woman, the proportions are also off somewhat.  I plan on having the front slit raised to mid-thigh to be more reflective of intended fit.  Also, this dress fits on the larger size.  I went down a size and could have easily gone down one size more on the bottom half.

I love that even with the low neckline and somewhat high slit, the dress still feels classy and not too over-the-top.
What do you like to wear on a sexy date night?  Do you ever go braless?


I Heart NYC

It's Monday, which means back to work, but a girl can fantasize about being somewhere else, right?
Skirt:  eShakti (Sold out on-line; Available in black here)
Today, I explored the juxtaposition of a casual sweatshirt with fancier pieces.  I paired my NYC love sweatshirt with my pink tulle skirt, lace-up heels, and a necklace with bling.
Necklace:  LOFT
Sweatshirt:  Wet Seal
I do love New York!  Being from small town USA and a pretty laid-back gal, the hustle and bustle of NYC probably wouldn't be my ideal for long-term living.  That said, I have visited twice and am looking forward to more visits. 

In fact, it was around this time last year that I last had an opportunity to visit New York for the second time.  The street culture and other dynamics of the city nurture my sociological mind, and I feel like I've only begun to scratch the surface of what NYC has to explore.

Shoes:  Prabal Gurung for Target
Ring:  Target
Bracelets:  Torrid and The Limited
I've always had a strong desire to travel the world.  So far, my journeys have only taken me to various parts of North America, but I feel so fortunate to have seen so much of the United States and small parts of Canada and Mexico.  
Maybe it is because I can be more of a loner, an introvert who usually feels a little awkward socially, but I have never felt a strong tie to a base location or a need to nest, if you will.  The idea of traveling through life sounds wonderful to me!  I feel like I have so much more exploring to do!
Purse:  The Limited (old)
Do you have a wandering nature or are you more of a nester?

For this skirt in another look, see here.

P.S.  eShakti was kind enough to provide an exclusive promo code for you, my dear readers!  Use code 'stylecases' to save 10% off your order. This code can be combined with most other codes and offers, and it can be re-used as often as you want now through 6/20/2014.