Black Friday

November 29, 2013
I rounded up a list of some of my favorite places to shop and the sales and specials available to you this weekend! Happy shopping!

Ted Baker: 30% off 

Graphic Image:  Spend $50 and get The Greatest Gift,  Spend $100 and get The Greatest Gift + Snowflake leather coasters,  Spend $200 and get The Greatest Gift + Coasters + Leather Wrapped Flask

GiGi New York:  Spend $250 and receive a leather phone wallet ($180 value)

Lulu Frost: 20% off the entire site with code LULU20 thru 12-2 midnight

Diptyque: Receive 2 free mini candles wit 30% offh any order and free shipping with code HOLIDAY2013

Splendid: 30% regular priced items in stores and online with code THANKFUL2013 

Ann Taylor: 50% off everything in stores & online using code ANNTHANKS + free shipping on orders of $175 or more

Loft - 40% off entire stores and online use code ENJOY

Thursday Friday: up to 95% off entire site.  Use code BLACK2013 for an additional 25% 

Anthropologie: 50% off sale items until 11am; 25% off sale items after 11am

Banana Republic: 50% off any full-priced item in stores; get a $20 shop card when you spend $100 on gift cards (in stores only; ends 12/1) and free shipping on all orders over $50

BaubleBar: Starts midnight Friday thru Sunday - 15% off 2 items with code FRIDAY15; 25% off 3 items with code FRIDAY25; 35% off 4+ items with code FRIDAY35


C. Wonder: 30% off 3 or more items in stores & online using code GIFTS30 thru 12/1 and free shipping on orders of $75+

Gap: 50% off everything in stores & online and free shipping on orders of $50 or more

J. Crew: 30% off your purchase in stores & online using code HOLIDAY thru 12/1 + free shipping on orders of $150+

J. Crew Factory: 50% off everything in stores & online now thru 12/3 and free shipping on orders of $50 or more

Macy's: Starts 8pm Thursday - 20-50% off select items; extra 15% off your purchase in stores & online using code THANKS

Madewell: 25% off your entire purchase in stores & online using code FEAST25 thru 12/2 + free shipping on all orders

Nine West: Select styles $49.99; 50% off all boots & booties; 30% off handbags & accessories; extra 25% off with purchase of $125 or more (online only) and  free shipping on all orders

Old Navy: Starts 7pm Thursday thru 11pm on Friday - 50% off the entire store & up to 50% off everything online (starts 9pm PST Thursday); first 500 in line at each store have a chance to win $1,000,000

ShoeMint: 50% off all full-price items, up to 70% off sale items and free mystery gift with $50+ purchase

Target - 40% off all denim & sweaters for men, women and kids

Nordstrom -  60% off select items

Thanksgiving Favorites

November 27, 2013


The smell of pies baking, and the laughter of my grandsons playing in the great room mimosas and cozy leggings.  Just a few of my favorites things this Thanksgiving.  I am thankful this year for a healthy family.  My mother's cancer in remission, and all my boys home celebrating together. I am also so very thankful to have so many friends thru my blog.  That's you guys!!!   I am grateful for the wisdom as I have matured to be happy with the simple things in life.  It's not about what you have, but who you are.  I try to pay it forward in my everyday life, and even in my blog by sharing with you when I find something wonderful.  Thank you for being out there in internet land, and all the emails and tweets.  I truly appreciate you. 

I am thankful for a man that loves me for just me, (sometimes I think I can be difficult, so he says), and my girls at the office, you know who you are chickas.....  you really are the best co workers I could ever ask for!  Love you guys too! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

What I have been up to

November 26, 2013
So things are starting to get busy here!  With the kick off of the holiday season for me beginning last week, I have a pretty full calendar. All of these pics are from my iPhone, so sorry they aren't very clear, but I did get the new white and gold 5S this weekend and the pics are going to be amazing on it!  I gathered with a few local bloggers last Thursday evening to learn a few tips and tricks from a professional photographer  for taking better photos.  We all brought our cameras and took notes, now lets see if I learned anything!


Straight from that event on to the next, Erin and I hurried to downtown KC to the lovely new space of Ampersand Design Studio for the #nodevents.  Several bloggers all across the country collaborated with Land Of Nod for a little party and display of a few super cool toys!  We were lucky to have a collaboration local!
There was a crepe paper craft table to make flowers to take home, a fun photo booth with pink and gold confetti!!  The studio was decorated so cute, and toys set out all around to admire!  Check out Ampersand Design Studio's blog to see the full recap with all the party pics from the night. 

So remember where I said toys set out all around?  Well all the toys were given away in a drawing and I won this Intergalactic set!! Isn't it super cute?  My grandsons will have a blast playing with this.  Thanks Land of Nod and Ampersand Design Studio.  


Moving on thru the weekend and the festivities, I had a minute to spare as I passed thru the Plaza and had to do a little girly shopping at Kate Spade.  Picked up a few pretties!! See those polka dots peeking out of the bag?


These are darling, and I always loved a pair of Keds.  Not a glitter girl, but these are super cute, but polka dots always!!


Saturday evening I attended a fundraiser gala with these girls.  We had a great time laughing, fun party booth pics, and even people watching a few shall we say, awkward party goers!!!! Can't wait for the next party! Whew, that was a party, event, filled weekend!  Anyone else's party season began yet?


And this little fella turned into an elf in Target on Sunday!!

Bambina

November 22, 2013
Browsing around Etsy on evening I came across the most colorful store.  Bambina caught my eye with all the bright leathers and the many different styles to chose.  I knew immediately I wanted the share her shop with you.  Cheryl sent me a business card case to review and enjoy and I am so glad she did.   So let me start by saying this is the softest leather ever.  No really.  Soft, and supple.  And look at all the colors to choose from! Her designs and attention to detail are spot on.  The stitching is perfect, and the seams are straight.  Loving the metallics, and these darling little live love laugh pouches. Hello? Can you say stocking stuffers?

Oh, and did I mention affordable?  Yup!   I shared a few of my favorites from her store, and asked if she would share a little bit about her, and her design process below.  I think you're going to love her!!!!





1. Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? 
Inspiration for me comes from anywhere and everywhere. From traveling to travel photography to interior design magazines and everything in between. I'm always attracted to and inspired by colour so anything I design will have a splash of colour in it. No matter what I make, it has to be practical, whimsical and colourful.

2. What made you take the plunge and start your own business? 
I think if you're passionate about what you do you should pursue it. I wanted to design my own line of accessories so for me there was no hesitation about starting my own business. It was a very natural next step to take after I got a degree in design.


3. Share a little bit about your own personal style and what we might find in your closet.
For me Miss Marple is a style icon. My own personal style is relaxed but put together. I'm not mad about trends that will last a season but prefer to buy pieces that I'll know I can continue to wear over the years and will coordinate easily with existing pieces in my wardrobe. I don't like spending time thinking about what to wear so I can usually pull something together very quickly from my wardrobe (since I have mostly separates that work together). I love my riding boots (which I've had since 2008) and wear them practically daily in winter - unless it's raining or snowing then I'll throw on my turquoise Hunter boots. Both go well with skinny jeans from Top Shop and a Boden top or sweater. For summer and warmer weather I toss on ballet flats or my sandal standby - a pair of classic leather sandals from Greece that go with everything. If I'm wearing a dress it's a wrap with Sigerson Morrison boots or a tunic with wedge espedrilles or flat sandals. 

4. If you had to choose, which piece is your favorite?
I have several pieces that are faves and that might be considered go to pieces. This season I've been wearing my Boden Rainy Day Mac everyday. It's lightly lined and perfect for autumn and spring. If I could wear it year round I would!

5. What are some of your favorite trends right now?
I'm not mad about trends - unless they are something timeless that are back in fashion. For me that would be a Breton striped top. They never go out of style. 

6. Which piece would you say is your best seller?
Hands down the Personalized Mia Leather Passport Cover has been my bestseller. It embodies the collection's philosophy of being practical, functional, whimsical and affordable. And of course it comes in loads of colour combinations so customers love the options they have to personalize them.

Thanks Cheryl!

Now for the great part, Bambina is offering a 10% discount for the next week on any purchase from her shop with the code SKYS10.  Seriously think about all the gifts.......stocking stuffers, co workers, neighbors, and even a little something for yourself you can order!  Hop over to her shop and look around, I think you will love it!

Hosting a stress Free party

November 21, 2013
With party season approaching you really want to stay as calm and stress free as possible.  What's the point of hosting a party if your so stressed out about it that it is not even enjoyable?   I came up with a few ideas and hints to helping you plan, and enjoy your party.  

I know, I know, it seems early to be discussing the holiday season, but I want to share a few things that I find help tremendously helpful thru this time of the year!  Stress free Party Strategies! That’s right!  Getting your party started before the party starts!
If you are the hostess, then you will want to be prepared with an emergency entertainment kit.  The best hostess always keeps these essentials on hand:
  •  Carpet and fabric stain removers, because let’s face it, someone is going to spill something
  •   Pain relievers for pre and post party headaches
  •  Make sure to stock up on toilet paper, and a plunger in the bathroom
  •  Stock up on extra candles and tea lights to keep the mood lighting flickering all thru the party
  •  Matches (duh)
  •   Clear nail polish for snags in tights or stockings
  • An extra bottle opener handy
  • Folding chairs in the garage are always handy to bring in for last minute seating


 Before the party you will want to prepare as much as possible. 
Buy bags of ice, or start bagging what your fridge makes in resalable Ziploc baggies and storing them.
Dig out of the back of your cabinet or buffet your serving dishes and decide what dish will go in what serving piece.  Label the dishes with a sticky note so any helpers will know the plan.   Also, now is a good time to find the serving ware as well.  Nothing like scrambling to find a large slotted spoon with hungry peeps lined up!
Go ahead and get to baking cookies.  They freeze great, and the day of the party just pull them out to thaw and serve!  
If mixed drinks are your gig, then simple syrup can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few weeks prior to the party.  To make: Add one cup sugar to one cup water in a saucepan, let boil until the sugar dissolves; cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
The day before the party, make one appetizer that can be heated and served warm. Prep your hor d’oeuvres in advance and make extra plates ready to serve in the fridge so you are available to great your guest as they arrive.
During the Party
Swap out any empty platters with full ones in the fridge. (See above for hor d’oeuver prep)
Recruit your kids (given they are old enough) to help with mid party cleanup. Ie: stray cups, plates, and occasional checking the bathroom! They can also keep the chip bowls full!
Choose side dishes that don’t require constant tending. They may be made ahead and served closer to room temperature. Roasted vegetables are great! Also, anything in a crockpot!
So the party is over, and everyone had a great time, but you’re exhausted from being the hostess with the mostess!
Any pots needing to be cleaned fill with water and a squirt of soap and simmer on the stove to loosen stuck on food or sauces.  If you can handle waking in the morning to the mess, let them soak overnight. Not on the hot stove of course!
Fill your washer with cold water and place your linens in the cold water to soak.  Pretreat any stains, and in the morning you can give attention to the stains before finishing the cycle.
Oh, and one last thing...... don't forget to invite me!  I love a good party! 

Beauty Favorites

November 20, 2013



This weeks four favorites is about beauty.  You know how the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Well that's true, but sometimes a little help can go a long way.  I started noticing my eyes didn't seem to have the same brightness as they did when I was younger.  Not to mention the wrinkles starting to show!  I have tried several eye creams with promises of firming, dark circle lightened, and  wrinkles lessened.  Honestly, I never noticed a significant difference until I tried this Chanel  Eye Cream.  I absolutely love it! It is definitely an investment to your beauty regime, but the results are worth it. 

Pretty fingers and toes are a must.  I have been stuck on french manicures for quite some time, but never let my toes go by without a fresh pedicure.  These Essie  Polish colors are great for the holidays.  A little platinum for the toes please!! 

Another must for healthy skin is a good Microdermabrasion .  This is great for really getting a deep cleanse and a smooth completion and glow.   I have used Mary Kay skin products since I was 18, (lets not do the math on that shall we?) and even met Mary Kay Ash on a trip to Dallas.  Her skin was flawless even at her age and that was a good incentive to try her products.

A perfect Fragrance and my favorite Jo Malone.  I am always adding a new scent from her line to layer and create my own signature.  Nothing feels better than someone leaning in to tell you how wonderful you smell and ask what your wearing only for you to tell them its custom Jo Malone.  I love that your scent is unique to you.  

Four Favorites link up today sharing with the girls!  Don't forget to link up with us!


 
Also linking up here!
 

Getting Organized

November 19, 2013
It's no surprise I have a lot of bracelets.  I have gotten to the point of leaving them out  and I don't like the messy look it creates on my dresser.  I have spent many years in the jewelry industry and knew it was time I display them better so I could find what I was looking for when getting dressed without to much digging around.  This is the messy embarrassing before shots of all the many ways my bracelets end up after a week of outfits!   A mess right?  
  





Drawers, upon drawers, upon trays and dressers!  Ugh! I'm not complaining, I love my bracelets, but something needed to be done! Now you might be asking about now why in the world are all those pieces of jewelry in baggies?  Well, sterling oxidizes when its left in the air, and I don't feel like polishing each piece every time I want to wear it!  So, I bag every piece, and then I sort them in trays by style. Hello OCD!
And this is the after!!
 

 I ordered a three bar bracelet display from Amazon.  I knew a three bar would make a dent, but I think I may need to add another at least two bar as well.  



Nice, neat, and organized!  I organized the drawer to hold some of the bracelets that would not hang as well, and sorted the trays.  Now choosing my bracelets is no longer a task!


   
Since I was on an organizing kick, I also knew my scarves were out of control.  I ordered this tie and belt hook from Amazon as well and I am so glad I did. 

The messy before.  I moved them out of the closet to take this picture to get better lighting, but trust me they were this messy in the closet too!


And the after! 
 

I am so glad I took just as few minutes to research and order they two little gadgets to help get organized.  It really is the little things sometimes that go a long way!  I would love to hear any of your organizing tips and tricks you use around your home!
 
 
 

AEM Designs

November 15, 2013
Art
You know by now I love when I find a great artist or designer that has mad talent!  Meet Alexandra of AEM Designs.  When I first spotted her Etsy shop, I instantly knew I wanted to share it with you.  Unique pieces of art to add to your home. She sent me the state of Oklahoma for my home, but I really had an idea to share it with my son who is a major Oklahoma Sooner's fan! I took a sooner hat to the framers to pick the correct color of crimson.  Nothing like framing the picture in the wrong red.  And trust me, there is a wrong red when it comes to your school colors! It is a fabric mat and I just love it.  We framed it with a wide mat so he can add memorabilia to the mat.  I started it for him with a few OU dog tags I found local.  When your deep in Jayhawk country, Sooner stuff is hard to find!





  I know he doesn't read my blog, so I am safe to show you his gift! But if my daughter in law sees this, she better keep the secret!!   Her watercolors are soft and feminine and I love them too. Such a talent to work with watercolors.  I dabble in painting, and can be pretty crafty, but watercolor painting has always eluded me.   She offers many state drawings, and I think they make a great piece for your home.  



I asked her to share a few things with you and hope you like her as much as I do! Take it away Alexandra! 



1. Where do you draw inspiration from for your art? 

I draw inspiration from so many things. Most of my inspiration comes from observing. Whether it be looking through magazines, blogs, or walking down the street I find it every day. Last week I was sitting in sitting in Starbucks before work and I saw this woman wearing the cutest pink stripped dress. Just seeing that woman inspired me for this new fashion watercolor https://www.etsy.com/listing/169066395/fashion-watercolor?ref=shop_home_active. I am in love with art and creativity so a cup of tea and some good music is sometimes all I really need to get ideas moving.

2. What made you take the plunge and start your own business? 

I have always created art as long as I can remember. I’ve had everything from acrylic paintings, watercolors, charcoal pieces and pen illustrations saved up from years and years ago. It has been something that I had done as a hobby for so long and finally decided in May of this year (2013) to create AEM Designs. That saying kept running through my head “if not now, then when”, so I took the plunge and just went for it. My business started through social media, and eventually I created other online platforms like my Etsy shop and website.
I was surprised and felt so blessed at the positive response I got from people and how fast my little business grew. One thing I love about owning and running AEM Designs all on my own is that it is a learning process and every day is different. There are hard days, busy days, and wonderful days but it is so much fun and I without a doubt love every minute of it. Interacting with customers and putting together a unique piece that they can hang in their home or give to a loved one is such a wonderful and rewarding feeling.

3. Share a little bit about your own personal style and what we might find in your closet.

I am a jeans a t shirt kind of girl. I have always been fairly casual and love simple and laid back pieces. My style somewhat depends on what I am doing, what mood I am in, or where I am going. Don’t get me wrong I love dressing up for an occasion or just to go out for the weekend but simple, comfy, and cute describes my personal style. Here is a link to my fashion Pinterest board where you can see some pieces that I love: http://www.pinterest.com/aematthews/style/


4. If you had to choose, which piece is your favorite?

This is a hard one. Lately a piece I really love is my black and white fashion watercolor https://www.etsy.com/listing/156355557/fashion-watercolor?ref=shop_home_active

There is a photo of this when piece when I was featured in the Dallas Morning News (http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/headlines/20130713-illustrator-alexandra-matthews-is-drawing-the-country-state-by-state.ece)    in the summer and whenever I look at the watercolor, it reminds me of that exciting time of my life. I also think simplicity is so beautiful, and I am drawn to how simple and modern this illustration is.

5. What are some of your favorite trends right now? 

I don’t know if it’s just me but I have been seeing a lot of green around; everything from emerald to army. I happen to love this color and think that it is gorgeous for fall. To me fall is the time for scarves, big sweaters, and boots which are a few of my favorite things to wear.



Thanks Alexandra! Make sure to follow her on all her social media too!



Instagram- aematthews4
Twitter - aematthews4

Alexandra has so graciously offered to my readers a 10% for the next week on anything in her shop!  Just enter the code PUMPKIN at checkout!  Start thinking of everyone on your Christmas list!  You know I did, but don't tell him!

Leopard & Leather

November 14, 2013
It should be no surprise I would style my Karen Kane LBD with leopard!  I mentioned this fave little cardigan in my four favorites here, and let me tell you it is on major rotation!  The sweater and the LBD!!  I styled this dress a little dressier here in black and white, and I am already thinking of a few other ways to change this sweet little number up again! Think tights and boots!!  






Dress Karen Kane c/o ~ Sweater Joie ~ Bracelets Rustic Cuff c/o ~ Bag LV ~ Shoes nine West (old) ~ Sunnies Chanel

Happy Thursday!  Today is my Friday, so TGIF!

November Favorites

November 13, 2013


November to me means chilly nights, and warm fires.  Coming home at the edge of darkness with daylight savings time now makes it hard not to want to crawl in to cozy PJ's and sit by a fire.  Haha, its really tempting trust me!  

The leaves have been absolutely stunning, and are still on many of the trees.  I have a feeling that's all about to change.  We had our first real cold night Monday night with temperatures dipping to 17 and only warming to 34 for the high.  That means time to bring out the ear wraps and gloves.  I have always felt a little bit like a Madonna wannabe wearing fingerless gloves.  I saw these Arm Warmers and really like them in place of the fingerless option.   Keeping your hands warm and your fingers free to be social!  You know all us social bugs need texting, typing, tweeting instagraming fingers!! 

The cutest, most adorable little Mug !  I don't think my latte will taste any better, but she sure is purity to look at!! I found one yesterday at a Starbucks close to my office, but when I told the girls I was wanting to get it they looked at me like I had three heads! My non coffee drinking friends didn't see the same beauty in the mug! 

So lets talk flats shall we?  More specific, these Velvet Flats.  ADORABLE!! These gems are a sister to my TB Eddie Bow flats I purchased last season, which I still love as much as I did the first day!  I can't decide completely between the velvet, or just solid black leather.  They both have the darling rhinestone bows though.  Which do you think?  Velvet, or leather?

My best friends Mom almost always wears a cape of some sorts.  So for years it has been an item I steer clear of.  Mostly because I think they are old womanly!  Times are clearly a changing!  This color block Cape  is not only stylish, its figure flattering.  I love the freedom of your arms, and the sash to keep in in place.   Oh yeah, I am definitely loving capes!  

It's Four Favorites day!  Link up and share what your November favorites are! 



Linking up here too!


Happy Friday

November 08, 2013
I am so glad to see Friday.  It hasn't been a long week, but I have been sick for the past four weeks now and I am so tired of it.  So I guess that does make it a long week still.  I hope I don't jinx it, but I am finally feeling like it is behind me and I may actually stop coughing all together by Monday!  The only thing I can blame it on is the flu shot.  I have never, ever, gotten a flu shot until this year.  About one month after I got the shot, I got sick.  I just thought I had ran my self down, and needed rest.  It just so happened to coincide with a big project at work and time off, and rest wasn't going to work.  Long hours, and lots of stress was in place.  I have never had what seemed to be a cold linger for four weeks. So, that's why I blame the flu shot!  Okay, enough of the sick talk.

Daylight savings time arrived and my house has adjusted well.  I am staying up later than usual, but at least I am not struggling in the mornings.  The only bad thing to the time change is I have no good lighting for taking photos anymore after work.  I am going to have to plan my weekend daylight out pretty well!  I spotted some pretty amazing streets last week, and I am hoping to get there for some outfit pics this weekend! 

Where I thought I was prepared better for the holidays, I realized this week I have tons to get done, and things to order in!  So much for feeling on top of my game! With the end of the year approaching, that also means my two year blog anniversary too!  I started this little blog with not much more than a name and an idea.  It has grown into so much more and offered up so many wonderful opportunities and friendships. I truly am thankful for it, and cannot wait to see where it goes from here.  Thank you for following along on this journey

Three weeks until Black Friday!! Can you believe it?

Camo & Leather

November 07, 2013
I made a few alterations to the military issue BDU, Battle dress uniform.  I scored this from the Army Navy Surplus store in Tulsa on my trip home a few months back.  It is military issued, and I was super excited when they gentleman at the store offered to sew on an army patch to the chest!  Representing for my son!  Army Mom, Army Strong!  Now I am by no means fit to be in the army, they don't have a custom department, so the alterations were mandatory in my book! I bought a men's medium long jacket.  I wanted it to be longer and I needed the medium to fit around my chest. But the arms were long and full.  Yuck.  So, I did what any seamstress would do, and cut them off, and hemmed the jacket.  I know I said I wanted it long, but it was about 1.5 inches too long! Loving my vest!  My son said he would fray the arms, but I like the clean cut look.  What do you think?




Styling my new vest was a snap. Camo is so popular and I wanted to mix my prints and of course leather, vegan that is, leggings! I picked up these leggings at Target!  Another great buy, and I have several striped tops so it was just a matter of which one!  My leopard belt was my new addition from Nordstrom Rack, and to help pop the white stripe on my top, I stacked my Cathryn Ann tassel bracelet and Alexandra Beth bangles!




You know I will be making another trip to the surplus store!  Maybe even try and score me another jacket and make a few alterations to sliming the sleeves!

Four Favorites || Random

November 06, 2013




If you haven't noticed yet, I completely agree with this Print.  Leopard is a neutral in my closet and there is plenty of it.  I actually tried on and almost, (key word there) almost picked up another pair of leopard flats over the weekend.  I am gonna need an intervention soon!! 

I am not a big fan of Talbots, but occasionally they have something that catches my eye.  I will say, recently they have stepped up their game and have several cute items.  This Scarf is pretty cute and looks toasty warm. 

My first holiday party of the season is in two weeks.  I have seen these Heels for a while now, and can honestly say they have grown on me.  I  am not a glitter fan, I know, gasp right? but the glitter on these slingbacks is controlled, and I can handle that!

I received an email recently reminding me of the monogram line that Louis Vuitton  has.  It's as if they know me and my love of a monogram!!  I love the neverfull, and was contemplating getting it before I chose this LV instead.  I would still get the neverfull and add my pretty little initials to it with pink of course! 


It is Four Favorites day, so be sure to link up and share the fun!




Daper Dan #TedtoToe

November 05, 2013
I love a sharp dressed man. Throw in a little paisley, and a jacket and he's a keeper! Ted Baker London is hitting it with high marks with their latest campaign.  Taking street styling to a new level dressed #TedtoToe, with some of my favorite, stunning, and dapper pieces from the campaign shared below.  Be sure to check out the Streetwinker.com website for even more style inspiration! Now I just need a store trip to a Ted Baker London store and I am set!







 
Seriously loving this cobalt bag!!






Thanks to my dad, I am a sucker for british humor too!  


To see more Streetwinker videos just go here

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