I’m back at it again with another video-blog on YouTube. Come learn about GwynnieBee plus-size clothing rental subscription service through hearing about my process of joining the service, getting my first box of clothes size 24+, and using the website.
Get a free month of service by signing up through my referral link: http://goo.gl/Llbr4
**I get a credit toward my subscription if you sign up through my referral link.
This is not a sponsored post! I pay for my own service, and I wanted to share about my experiences.
If you’re already a GwynnieBee subscriber, what brands should I try out? What’s in your closet now?
Over the last year I’ve been working toward buying more quality pieces for my wardrobe that could work well in a professional environment as well as evening/”going out” type of situations. Finding pieces with eye-catching and adaptable styles in good fabrics and in my size is a tall order that I often can’t achieve, but I do feel that in the past couple months I’ve made some great discoveries as I’ve found more brands that offer these kind of pieces (mostly) in my size. Now when I’m considering higher-quality items, I’m thinking of quality materials, polished styles, and better fits, not necessarily higher price points. This look has some of my latest finds that are helping me improve my wardrobe, and I wore it out today to an academic conference:
I’ve known about Eloquii for years. In fact, I still have pieces from their first existence as a sub-brand of The Limited, but I am not a regular shopper of Eloquii because they do not offer all of their styles in sizes 26 and 28. I had a couple months there where I would go to their site, and literally every. single. item. I. wanted. stopped at a 24. I also had purchased some items about a year ago that I thought had good promise, but they ended up being slightly too tight and too short, and so they never became a part of the circulation of my wardrobe.
I’ve been really impressed with Eloquii working toward offering more sizes lately. They now have some petites as well as the “Viola” cut, which is meant to fit shapes where a person’s bottom/pant size is 1-2 sizes larger than their bust/top size. When looking at their site at the Viola options, I saw a few styles up to a 28 that I liked, and Eloquii always has great sales, so I took advantage and decided to try them out once again.
I was pleasantly surprised. Everything I ordered fit me really well, and this top, which was purchased at a 28, is even a little big in the bust and sleeves. Not at all what I was expecting from my last experience of things being too small (I like this top so much that I’ve already ordered it in a size down). Putting on this top, the fabric was denser and nicer than one typically gets in plus size clothing. And, I should say, with the coupon this top was only $35 dollars — “nicer” pieces are not always expensive. This is cheaper than some Old Navy tops and 1000x better quality. Once I tried it on, I knew immediately that I wanted to pair it with the marble print pencil skirt that I had purchased from Melissa McCarthy Seven7.
Melissa McCarthy’s line has impressed me over and over again. She has great quality items. This skirt’s fabric is so nice, the print is vibrant, and her pieces would work wonderfully for tall people. Most impressive– after one season of offering items up to a 24/3X, she expanded to a 28/4X. I’m hopeful that she’ll keep exploring more sizes, but I will note that her dresses and skirts are roomy and many could fit someone at a size 30.
At 5’4″, I need to alter her items (for example, I pulled up this skirt to be right underneath my bust — that’s how long it is on me), but it is always easier to take fabric off than to not have access to it at all because it’s too small/short/etc. Melissa’s line is just outside of my typical price range. It means not spending money on more affordable fashion that won’t last as long in order to purchase one piece from her. Now, this isn’t hard for me because I own too many clothes as it is, but it might be harder for others who are building their wardrobe. She does occasionally have sales, and I recommend hopping on it when she does.
Lastly, Lane Bryant has been impressing me lately with shoe options. Often times the shoes I like are “online exclusives”, so I take a gamble on them, and these cutout block heels really paid off. The heel height is perfect for me–I cannot do high heels. The base is cushy and comfortable. I’m into the ties, and I love that the ties are suede and just as nice looking as the shoe themselves. I think I bought these with a coupon too, and I feel that these shoes look more expensive than they actually were.
I finished my look with cheaper jewelry – simple silver earrings from a local boutique and a really old faux white-marble stone ring. One place I haven’t made investments? Jewelry. Maybe someday….
Have you tried these brands — what did you think? What brands do you buy from for higher quality pieces?
My vlog is about blogging for 6 years, and what this vlog has shown me is that even after 6 years of posting pictures and writing and thoughts to the web, posting a video is TERRIFYING.
Here’s to moving outside of my comfort zone!
Sometimes you just gotta put on a really good maxi dress from Melissa McCarthy, stand in a field, and channel your inner Earth Goddess, ya know?
On the occasion that I need dressy attire or semi-formal wear, I always look to Kiyonna first to see what they have available. I started wearing Kiyonna when I attended a wedding in 2010. I had never had a dress that fit me so well, and I felt elegant in the piece. So when I had an occasion this past summer, I looked back over their collection again. I still wanted the great fit and elegance of Kiyonna, but I also wanted to select a style that was more bold than the demure styles I typically pick. I was really intrigued by the shape of their Foxfire faux wrap dress, so I picked it up via their Amazon shop in ‘Merlot’. I was excited to try on this style, but even more excited about the color. My life needed a little red dress.
I loved the ruching on the side and the way the “wrap” dress front hangs on the body. I could have done without the halter strap on the dress — just a normal sleeve and shoulder would have worked for me, but it does add something different to the dress that not all dresses have.
The back comes down in a deep-v, and the dress fits closely to the body.
I kept my jewelry simple because I just can’t take a lot of jewelry. These earrings worked well and brought in other colors to the look without demanding a ton of attention (similar style here).
I also pulled out a clutch that I got years and years ago from Evans when I used to do blogging collaborations with them. It’s still in great condition, and I love the beading and color.
I love this little red dress and how powerful and beautiful it makes me feel. It’s a great option for a date night or for an event where a less-than-modest dress is appropriate. As always with Kiyonna, the fabric is heaven, and the size fit just as described in their size chart. I highly recommend this piece!
*Shopping tip: this style is available on their Amazon shop but not their regular website. I sometimes find the Amazon store has other colors too. Downside- no discounts.
**Dress purchased on my own. Post was not sponsored.
I moved into my first solo, independent, only-me home a little over two years ago (see my two posts about my move here and here). I started with a lot of hand-me-down or donated furniture, no artwork on the walls, but a new blank space where the possibilities were endless.
It’s been fun (and expensive) making my home, and it’s also been a big learning experience. I am a naturally very messy person. As long as the place I want to be, say my bed or the couch, is clear enough, then I can usually ignore most clutter and piles of things. Couple that with a tendency to buy too many items, and you’ve got a messy home on your hands. This is something I’ve always known about myself. I was always the messiest kid in my family. I tended to never treat my items with much care. I also have a tendency toward depression, which completely takes away any motivation for keeping things decluttered and clean.
Turning those habits around is an on-going challenge for me, but my home, and the desire to have a home that is welcoming to others, is pushing me to confront those challenges. After deciding to no longer date earlier this year and working through the summer straight to teaching this fall, I let my home really go in terms of clutter and mess. I could feel myself coming out of my depression in September, and I’ve seen a huge rise in my energy and motivation. I also happened to be introduced to organization/decluttering YouTube channels via Natalie of Natalie Means Nice. It sounds so silly, but these YouTube channels have been able to motivate me to clean and declutter so much. I guess it makes sense — reading blogs changed how I viewed clothes and myself — why wouldn’t normal, everyday people help me work through my home?
I started by watching a professional discuss home organization but then moved to someone, Sophia, who was trying to work through her own issues with decluttering and organization. Sophia has a completely different living situation and style from me, but she does have the same struggles as me (hello, fellow shopaholic). All it takes is a little YouTube, a list, and I’m off to clean. I’ve managed to work my whole way through my main living area: livingroom, diningroom, and kitchen. I even made sure to FaceTime my sister to show her my progress. I’ve also worked on getting more personalized style in my home, so I figured it was time to update you all. And if you’re a messy person like me, who actually likes a clean place, check out those channels!
Let’s start by my back door.
I picked up this wood pallet North Carolina piece at an antique/craft show. I also purchased the comfiest chair ever from my friend, Ashley, when she was redoing her apartment. Lola quite enjoys lazing on this chair, back behind the cushions, and keeping an eye on the animals in the back yard.
Between the chair and couch is this Windham 2 door, 1 drawer cabinet from Target. I had been eyeing this collection for awhile, so when it went on super sale, I snagged it in “Overcast”. I had some cut wood that was left over from my sister decorating a party, so I keep a faux plant on top of that and am almost constantly burning a candle on the cabinet if I’m in the room.
I also got this couch from Ashley. I think I paid $100 (!!!) because she was getting a new couch. I also put up this metal wall art from Kirklands.
Across the couch is a closet and then my TV center. The apartment came with built-ins, and I don’t have a big TV, so it fit perfectly there. They did have these oddly-tall sections at the bottom of the center, which ended up fitting my card tables and tripod perfectly. I also keep blankets, now in a basket, and a small ottoman and a basket of Lola’s toys. Lola spends a lot of time in the livingroom, so keeping her toys accessible to her but out of the way was what I needed. I purged all the toys that I hadn’t seen her even sniff in months.
Next to the built-ins is a bump out from my front closet. I have a simple squared bookcase there with all of my DVDs, some books, and other assorted items. I used some baskets to hide oddly shaped items. One holds a lot of tech things, like a lens for my camera, and the other holds some puzzles and games. The center holds some tech stuff that’s not-so-pretty to the eye. If anyone has a suggestion on how to hide that, let me know.
On top I have agate bookends, a lamp, and vase–all from Target. I also have a little photo gallery above that bookcase. Something that happened organically over time was that a lot of the decorations in my livingroom were wood and stone related, so I ended up going further with that in this space.
Next to my couch is a hallway to the second bedroom and a bathroom. There’s also a half wall that connects to my kitchen.
I put in a long bookcase with a shorter height along that wall. I keep all of my coffee-table type books here, as well as some games. I bought two wooden boxes from Homegoods with a chevron pattern to hide knickknack items. One thing I’ve learned from YouTube is “everything must have a home”. If it doesn’t have a place that it belongs, do I need it? If so, find it a place.
On top I have some items that I’ve collected over time. One is this letter box that can light up. I put that phrase on there awhile ago. Maybe I should change it to “Embrace the clean” — nah, not as fun :). I picked up the candle in front of it over the summer. Pineapples aren’t as in-season anymore, but I still think it’s cute so it’s still there. I just recently added this print of a tree ring. My sister had propped up a painting I did in this same spot, and I loved the placement of art but not so much my painting. This rounds out my wood-theme well. By the way, I just bought the print from art.com (cheap), and then bought a more affordable frame at Michaels. I think the whole thing was $40 in all, counting shipping prices.
I picked up the “yum” pie dish in the dollar section of Target. I thought it was cute, and I don’t make pies, so I used a plate display to prop it up for fall decoration.
On the other side of my bookcase are some more fall/Halloween decorations. I picked up these little dog figurines at Kirklands. I have a dog-obsession, not afraid to admit it, but what often happens is that I cannot find a lookalike for Lola. She’s some kind of yellow lab mix, and companies just don’t have the ability to make figurines to represent all the mutts out there. When I saw this figurine, with the standing up ears like Lola, I had to go for it. Then later I felt like it needed a friend and picked up another. I think they were around $5 each. I also picked up the “Hello Fall” wooden jar piece from Kirklands. This is about as southern as it’s going to get in my decor.
The little orange frame was a piece from my aunt. I think she put card stock or illustrations that she liked in the frame. The lamp is also from Target.
My diningroom is mostly the same, except with more things! The metal chair was bought to be my chair for my vanity area in my bedroom. It hasn’t made its way there yet, and I’m not sure that it will ultimately go there, but for now it’s in my diningroom. I did put up some wall art from Kirklands (I’m now realizing that my entire apartment is Kirklands+Target+Ashley :)).
I organized this bookcase by category. The left hand side is what I use most: a basket holding Lola’s important items, like heartworm pills, her Thundershirt, and paperwork for her microchip; a toolbox with a hammer; and the rest are random items that I use maybe once or twice a year, such as office supplies, flashlight, and hooks for hanging wall art.
On top of this bookcase is a desk organizer with some important mail/paperwork, a notebook, hand sanitizer, and an extra charging cord. I also have a picture from college, faux plant, and a cat statue I picked up at an antique store. So, this cat statue… it’s a little weird but I like it. Now, though, my sisters and friends like to laugh about me becoming a cat lady, even though I don’t even have a cat!! (but I want a cat). I also have a little dish that can hold my keys but often holds random jewelry that I take off when I get home. Above the book case is a little board that I got when I first moved in. I honestly do not use it or switch things out from it, but I see no reason to take it down.
Across the diningroom is my kitchen. It is as basic as can be, but I did go through and reorganize where dishes, pots and pans were. When I first moved in, I put things where I thought they should go, and I never changed their location. It’s just now that I rearranged based off of what was frustrating about my kitchen.
I think the only visual change is that I got rid of my microwave and got a toaster oven in its place. This freed up more counter space, which I love. I also put up this shelf that holds cookbooks and also has a rod for hanging items like oven mitts.
I am not that experienced with decorating a home, but I do for the first time feel proud of how my place looks, and I love that I now have little decorative pieces that I adore. Next up on the decluttering/organizing/cleaning list is my bedroom… And let me tell you, that’s going to be a huge project..eek!
What do you do to declutter and/or organize your home? Any good tips you can pass along? Any YouTubers that I should check out?
Styling looks that are a. work appropriate, b. slightly “well dressed” but still meeting some level of comfort, and c. fun is not exactly an easy thing to do. Some days when I go to work, I am thankful that I had enough energy to wake up and dry my hair. Other days I’m stuck to what’s clean and available. Then I have my on point days, where the stars align. I can fix my hair AND have an outfit that not only “works” for work but also is an expression of my style. The following look is one of the latter–though, I’d make a small edit next time…