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Favorites of 2016 & Welcome 2017!

While 2016 was rougher than some years, like any time period, it came with ups and downs.  Today, I'm looking back at 2016 and looking ahead at 2017.  Throughout this post, I'm sharing MY favorite looks or blog posts from 2016 in no order of preference! 
Wild Card Wednesday:  Who What Wear Slip Dress

One of my favorite aspects of 2016 was traveling.  I love traveling and actually had several opportunities to do so in 2016.  I went to NYC for an exciting blogging opportunity with my favorite fashion brand ELOQUII.  I was soooo honored to be the June Style & Substance feature, and the trip was a fantastic experience in which I met some amazing people, got to wear awesome clothes, and even learned some ideas for make-up and photography!  
Wild Card Wednesday:  The Floral Set

Wild Card Wednesday:  That Versatile Skirt

The second trip was to Panama City Beach for relaxation and fun with the family and some requisite Vitamin D.  I had a great time and it led to a swimsuit photo shoot that had me feeling all kinds of ways!  
Body Politics and the Not-So-Little Black Swimsuit

My last trip this past year was to Texas to see my grandmother who I would see alive for the last time.  It was a difficult trip, seeing how Alzheimer's had ravaged my grandmother's brain and how much she had deteriorated physically in the short time since she had moved from the St. Louis area to Texas to live near my uncle.  I was so grateful though that I had the chance to see her once more.  Even though she didn't remember me or my kids, the sweetness with which she interacted with the kids showed her true character and is a memory that I hope lasts my lifetime.
Manic Monday:  Nudes & Neutrals
Shop Your Closet:  The Blush Trench
Wild Card Wednesday:  ELOQUII Petites
I lost my grandmother in October.  And just over a month after that, my husband lost his father, and my kids lost yet another grandparent.
Indie Spotlight:  Honey's Child Boutique
Selfie Star

Donald Trump was elected president, and I continue to worry if 2017 will really be any better.  My fears aren't political, but because as an individual, I truly believe that Trump is grossly unfit to lead anyone, let alone the United States.  I believe that his general incompetence, apparent mental instability, and personal greed and interests could lead to some very scary outcomes for this country.  As a result, I'm feeling more of my activist spirit coming out, and I plan to fight against the destruction of my country through protest, phone calls, and my pocketbook in 2017.
Neon Lightning
Spring Double Feature:  Stripe Storm
Manic Monday:  Bohemian Florals

On the blogging front, things are looking up, and I'm soooo excited about launching my new blog next week.  Starting on Monday, head over to stylecassentials.com (no more blogspot) for a new look and feel.  I would love to hear your feedback on the new site.  I hope that the changes will make the blog easier to navigate and easier to catch up with your favorite types of posts.  To kick off the re-lauch, I also have some exciting giveaways planned, so stay tuned!  
Imitation Game:  Nicolette Mason
Indie Spotlight:  The Tiny Closet
Manic Monday:  Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice
2017 promises more fashion, more body positivity, a bigger, better blog!  I hope that you will join me on this journey, and truly, any and all constructive feedback is welcome!


Wild Card Wednesday: Take Flight

For me, 2017 is about taking flight.  Perhaps literally... I would love to do some more traveling... but definitely figuratively.   My New Year's Resolutions are all about growing my blog and continuing to work on creating new and quality content.
Dress:  ELOQUII (Sold out - see here)
Just like the adorable birds on this dress, I really want to spread my wings this year.   I feel like a lot of 2016 was just about getting by.  It was a rough year, and I personally felt like my blog suffered more than I would have liked it to.  While I did work on some of my blog goals last year, I often felt accomplished if I could just get content up on the screen.  I am planning on changing that a lot this year.  One of my hardcore, vision board goals is to grow my blog and see it really prosper in 2017.
Boots:  Target (Available here)
Clutch:  ASOS
I am reaching out for help with photography, and while I anticipate that this will still be a challenge, I hope to see continued growth with that.  Next week, I am launching my new domain - stylecassentials.com on a new platform as I am moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress!  I have been working hard to re-brand and make my blog what I truly believe it can be, and I am so excited to share it with you.
Glasses:  Tory Burch
Be back Friday with one more look back at 2016 and a look ahead at the new year and new site!


Manic Monday: 9 to 5 Color

With winter now in full swing, I find myself reaching for rich berry hues.  For today's Manic Monday post, I styled a pretty burgundy pleated skirt from ASOS.
Skirt:  ASOS (Available here)
This skirt paired with a deep forest blouse is a sophisticated take on the classic Christmas color combination.  I don't think red and green need to be relegated just to the Christmas holiday - this is just a great color combination for winter! 
Blouse:  Who What Wear x Target (Available in ivory or black here and here)
Belt:  ELOQUII (Available here)
The shapes work particularly well for the office, and I love how the pleats of the skirt play with the pleats on the blouse.  The belt and booties help tie the look together.

The look has a little bit of a late 70s/early 80s vibe but still feels modern.
Boots:  FarylRobin Fawcett (Available at Target here)
Purse:  Target (old)
Glasses:  Coach
Do you wear green and red together outside of the holidays?


Casual Friday: Dressing Down

One of the things I love most about fashion is the chance to explore my creativity and play around with my clothes in new ways.
Jacket:  ELOQUII (Similar here)
For today's casual Friday post, I took one of my favorite fancy maxi dresses and styled it for a casual look.  This dress is backless and has a thigh high slit, so it's not something I would typically think to pair with a bomber jacket or sneakers.
Dress:  LOFT
But what's fashion without trying new things?

I love the green shade of the dress with the navy and red trim on the bomber jacket.  The sneakers pull out the same navy and red which ties them together.
Shoes:  Converse (kids) (Available at Kohl's here)
Glasses:  Valentino
Overall, I'm mixed on this look - it was super comfortable and I do love the color combo.  I'm not sure yet though if the total look is really "me."
Earrings:  NY&CO
What do you think about the look?  Do you like to mix casual with more dressy pieces?


Wild Card Wednesday: New Year Ruffles

Happy New Year!  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and have recovered sufficiently from them!  I started the new year with a virus and a sick household which hasn't been the most fun.  That said, I am totally not letting it get me down.  The new year brings with it new excitement as I have some new things coming down the pipeline later this month AND some goals for the blog this year that I'll be sharing with you some time next week.
Dress:  ELOQUII (Available here)
Seriously, I am all about making 2017 an amazing year.  My eyes are on the prize, and I feel motivated to stick to my plans and see what the future holds.  So, a funky little virus is nothing - it will go away, and life will keep on going.
Boots:  Target (Available here)
Clutch:  NY&CO
I am also embracing winter by deciding I will wear whatever I want even if it means bare legs and bare arms!  This dress from ELOQUII was just too fabulous to wait to share it until the weather warmed up.  I am pretty sure I had a fever when I took this photo, so the cool air actually felt pretty darn good!  The temps have been taking more of a dip this week and we're expecting snow tomorrow, so we'll see how much the bare legs hold up! 
Glasses:  Valentino
Earrings:  Target
The statement ruffle on this dress is just so great, and after a few alterations, I felt like this dress was made just for me!  The dress has a French phrase written on it - which means "to lie in."  I am alllll about sleeping in and allllll about lying in without sleep too, so I love the sentiment! ;-)
I thought about styling this dress with white pumps, but decided the boots were the better choice for winter.  I like that the boots add a little more of a downtown vibe to the look, which I think makes them a little cooler of a choice.  I'm sure once spring hits, I will also be giving the white pumps a little play too!
I will be sharing a few of my New Year's Resolutions with you all very soon - did you set any goals or resolutions for yourself this year?