Spring Essentials Challenge: Finale

That's a wrap! The four items in my Spring Essentials checklist have been decided and each are in their own category of high, medium and low. Each of the budget categories presented their own challenges but in the end, all of the items look amazing and achieve the exact same look! Check it out...

HIGH $900

MEDIUM $450

LOW $225

Here is the breakdown for each of the budgets:

HIGH: $300 per month x 3 months = $900 spring budget

  1. Needle & Thread jacket $450*
  2. Free People jeans $58.80 (on sale from $98)*
  3. Cupcakes & Cashmere top $100*
  4. Rebecca Minkoff heeled sandals $99.99* (on eBay BuyItNow - linked original price $195)

Total spent: $894.58

MEDIUM: $150 per month x 3 months = $450 spring budget

  1. Topshop jacket $115*
  2. Zara jeans $69.90
  3. Target off the shoulder top $44* (sold out in striped pattern)
  4. Splendid heeled sandals $176

Total spent: $446.90

LOW: $75 per month x 3 months = $225 spring budget

  1. Zara jacket $49.90
  2. Forever21 jeans $19.99*
  3. Amazon.ca top $14 (sold out but HERE is one similar)
  4. Asos heeled sandals $134.90

Total spent: $224.14

Remember to get creative when searching for the perfect item to complement your closet - using loyalty programs, online coupon codes, and sites such as eBay and Amazon can save you a significant amount of money when you are careful and mindful of what you are shopping for. You can also watch for timed sale events on membership websites like Gilt.com and Hautelook.com

Use these shopping tips to create a successful and meaningful experience:

  1. Create a list of items you NEED.
  2. Create a list of items you WANT.
  3. Prepare a realistic budget (and stick to it!).
  4. Search online for each of your items and look for the least expensive retailer to purchase from. Use sites like SHOPSTYLE.ca to search multiple retailers at once.
  5. Search for coupon codes, loyalty programs, free shipping, etc. to see what kind of discounts you can obtain.
  6. Check eBay, Amazon and other discount websites to see if your item is available.
  7. Always buy from retailers that offer solid return and exchange policies.
  8. Only purchase items you absolutely LOVE!

Wishing you some amazing spring essential finds - no matter what your budget is!

All items marked with an "*" are in US dollars and are calculated into CA dollars at the time of research :) Here's to our Canadian dollar making a comeback! (fingers crossed)

Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Four

Ah...almost there! We are now 'shopping' for item number four - the heeled sandal! I must say, I do think shoes are a very key element when it comes to an outfit. They don't always have to be expensive, but if there is anything to spend a little more on, I believe it is shoes and accessories. Shopping tip: Spend more money on neutral pieces because they will go with more and are less likely to go out of style quickly.

Take a peek at the shoes pictured below and see if you can pick out which are the most expensive!

So which top from the Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Three was in what category of budget?

If you guessed HIGH you were right! This top is from Nordstrom by Cupcakes & Cashmere and cost $100 USD.

If you guessed MEDIUM you were right! This top is from Target and cost $44.

If you guessed LOW you were right! This top is from Amazon.ca and cost $14. (It is sold out now...shocking! Here is another similar style: Asos Brave Soul Top.)

Be sure to check back next week to see the final outfits as we compare all four items at each price point!

Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Three

I know I have raved about it before but I will definitely say it again, I love the cold shoulder top! It is such a pretty way to add femininity to any outfit without being too revealing. Whether it's completely bare shoulders or a simple cut-out version, the cold shoulder is the statement top of the season. 

Here are the tops I love at every price point. Check them out and see if you can spot the high, medium and low - then stay tuned for the answer in Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Four...

So which denim from the Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Two was in what category of budget?

If you guessed HIGH you were right! These jeans are from Nordstrom by Free People and cost $98.00 USD but are currently on sale for $58.80 USD...I love a good deal!

If you guessed MEDIUM you were right! These jeans are from Zara and cost $69.90.

If you guessed LOW you were right! These jeans are from Forever21 and cost $27.90 USD but are currently on sale for $19.99 USD!

Always remember that it is important to stick to your budget (for many reasons) but especially because it helps you to create a more meaningful wardrobe and reduces impulse-buys (they are almost never a good idea!) Here is a recap of what has been been spent so far:

HIGH: $300 per month x 3 months = $900 spring budget

  1. Needle & Thread jacket $450 USD
  2. Free People jeans $58.80 USD

MEDIUM: $150 per month x 3 months = $450 spring budget

  1. Topshop jacket $110 USD
  2. Zara jeans $69.90

LOW: $75 per month x 3 months = $225 spring budget

  1. Zara jacket $49.90
  2. Forever21 jeans $19.99 USD

Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Two

Me and denim are kind of inseparable and I would choose my favourite pair of jeans over almost anything else in my closet. This season's cropped trouser jeans have my heart pounding. Partially because they are different than anything I have ever worn and partially because there are so many great options this season!

In keeping with the challenge of finding the same look at the $75, $150 and $300 per month budgets, I have selected three different pairs of jeans that fit into these budget categories. Take a peek at the denim posted below and see if you can spot the high, medium and low - then stay tuned for the answer in Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Three...

So which jacket from the Spring Essentials Challenge: Part One was in what category of budget?

If you guessed HIGH you were right! This jacket is from Net-a-porter by Needle & Thread and costs $450 USD.

If you guessed MEDIUM you were right! This jacket is from Nordstrom by Topshop and costs $115 USD.

If you guessed LOW you were right! This jacket is from Zara and costs $49.90 CAD.

Spring Essentials Challenge: Part One

I absolutely love spring fashion and as soon as the sun peaks out at this time of year, I get the itch to break free of my heavy jackets and boots! I always start by spring cleaning my closet - it feels good to pack away the bulk of winter and embrace the warmth of spring. 

photo care of ouiouiouistudio

photo care of ouiouiouistudio

After cleansing my closet, I decide on the items I would like to add to my wardrobe and determine my budget. So what is on my must-have list this season?

  1. Casual spring jacket
  2. Cropped trouser jeans
  3. Exposed shoulder top (see my post The Cold Shoulder)
  4. Heeled sandals

All of these items can be purchased and put together to achieve the same look with almost any budget. Don't believe me? Whether its $75, $150 or $300 per month, finding your key spring pieces will revitalize your current wardrobe, add flare to your closet staples, and have you welcoming the season in style! 

In this challenge, I will put together the 4 must-have pieces for each of the above mentioned budgets without going over...I promise! First things first, spring jackets. See if you can pick out the high, medium and low - then stay tuned for the answer in Spring Essentials Challenge: Part Two...

Easter - All Dressed Up

When I think back to my childhood, I remember Easter weekend being the one where my dress (or my crinoline) was three times the size of my body and my shoes were shiny, white patent. I may or may not have had a bonnet on my head while carrying an Easter basket - this part I must have blocked out (teehee)! But one thing that has never changed, is that no matter what you are doing on this beautifully significant Easter weekend, dressing in your Sunday best is an absolute must. Whether you are heading to church, brunch, lunch or family dinner, a well put together and comfortable outfit is key for you and the whole family. 

Here are some outfit options for you, your little dolls. and of course your significant other! Keep in mind the outfits you choose (because let’s keep it real, we all know you are choosing for everyone else in your family) do not have to be new; just well thought out and somewhat coordinated. I don't believe that buying an outfit for just one occasion is ever a good idea but rather buying carefully curated pieces that can be used in various ways throughout the season.

For you...

For the MR....

And of course some outfits for the littles in your life...

As I mentioned before, not every occasion calls for a new outfit! Thrifty ways to find a special outfit for you or your family include: Borrowing from friends (and their kids); Visiting a recycled clothing store; and Reusing something you already own!

Have a beautiful Easter! 

Spring Into Fashion!

Ok ladies...maybe it's because I'm writing from the warm sun of Southern California, or just wishful thinking, but it feels like Spring. Easter is around the corner, toes are polished - time to update that Spring wardrobe!

I will admit right now, I am quite possibly addicted to online shopping. A wise friend put me on to Ebates, a way to get cash back on almost all of your online shopping. It couldn't be easier to use. Simply go to Ebates.com and sign up for an account...then start shopping. The Ebates site automatically redirects you to Nordstrom's, Amazon, etc, through your account. Once you place an order, you earn cash back rewards! The percentage varies and they often have promotions, which you'll learn about through their email alerts. 

Here are some of my Spring favs to get you started, that have either been purchased or will be arriving at my doorstep any day:

1. Sweet Lace Dress for Easter:

Lace Dress by Zara

Lace Dress by Zara

2. And because you'll have a sweet Lace Dress for Easter, you'll need some sweet shoes for Easter. Right? Of course!! These beauties are on their way to me as we speak...

3. Or for a more casual look, pair the dress with these wedge sandals:

4. A more casual dress that can take you from day to night depending on how you accessorize it, with flat sandals like these or the above wedges:

5. And finally, my true, everyday, can't keep these jeans clean in the spring/summer look...AG white skinny ankle jeans  paired with a Chambray Rails shirt and booties or a fresh, flirty number like this:

I hope you've enjoyed some of my favorites! Now, head over to Ebates to begin your Happy Spring shopping!

Closet Cleanse

It’s that time of year…when the itch to spring clean gets kicked into high gear and organizing takes centre stage. I have been meaning to attack my closet for so looooong! It seemed an impossible feat this time because I have several different sizes living inside my closet right now - thanks very much to my (surprise) baby boy! But I decided to go ahead and give my closet the cleanse it so desperately needed.

There are a lot of different cleansing methods out there and sometimes it seems overwhelming to even begin. It is a timely process, but a closet that feels fresh, clean and inspired - filled only with pieces that you love - will give back to you in many ways. 

Here is a super easy, quick and simple way to cleanse your closet:

STEP ONE

Remove all of the items in your closet. Seem crazy? Removing every item will force you to look at each piece - something you may not have done in years! 

STEP TWO

Be honest. Be strict. Ask for another opinion if needed. One by one, look each item over and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Does this fit me now?
  2. Do I feel good when I wear this?
  3. Can I make more than one outfit with this?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, put it aside and move on to the next item. This is not the time to be sentimental - I can promise you that your clothes do not have feelings!

STEP THREE

Hang your “yes” clothes back into your closet in sections, divided by type of clothing; i.e.. place sweaters with sweaters, blouses with blouses, etc. as well as in color code - lightest to darkest. This may seem way too intense, but color coding your wardrobe makes for very easy finds and simple outfit pairing. For items that are not hanging, fold them so you are able to see exactly what they are. 

Any item you are unsure of or not ready to part with, place in a storage bin and set the bin somewhere out of sight. If you do not go back to it during the season, let someone else love it. All of the “no” items you set aside can be brought to a consignment store, given away to friends or donated to a local charity.

Buy less, choose well.
— Vivienne Westwood



She Is Clothing

My lovely list feature this week is not a single product, but it's a company. A fabulous homegrown company that was born from a passion for empowering women through their faith. She Is Clothing was founded right here in Vancouver, BC, by the lovely Kimberly Gladman in 2014. Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed in strength and dignity, and laughs at the time to come.”

She Is Clothing

The sweet, hard working Mama of two gorgeous girls, founded the company because,  "We want to share this truth, that with Jesus, You are strong." How beautiful! A great reminder to walk with confidence in the faith that Jesus loves us, unconditionally. It's a little tap on the shoulder for me during the long, hard, often tedious days of motherhood and family life, that I am strong, even when I'm not feeling it, because of my faith in Jesus. I love her story, her company her steadfast faith, the fact that they source locally and responsibly and that all design is done in-house. 

Kimberly Gladman of She Is Clothing

Kimberly Gladman of She Is Clothing

The independent apparel and accessory company carries women's, men's and kids apparel, as well as some fabulous accessories. My next purchase (and there have been MANY), is the gold wristlet. Ah! So cute. I may be slightly addicted to this company. My t-shirt collection is up to 5!

Frances VanTol of Frances Eden Creative

Frances VanTol of Frances Eden Creative

Follow She Is Clothing on Instagram @sheisclothing and FB at facebook.com/sheisclothing

Necklace by Olive + Piper

The Cold Shoulder

Oh yes, I got the cold shoulder - and not in the way the crew of Fuller House did from M.K. and Ashley O.,  (tee hee totally not watching that show at all) but in the must-have for Spring 2016 trend of baring that beautiful décolletage. 

The Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder

For months now, I have been on the hunt for an off-the-shoulder blouse that would speak to me. I knew I wanted it to be white but I also wanted it to be longer than a crop top - those days are long gone for this mama! My other criteria was that it sat nicely at the shoulders and was able to pair with my current wardrobe.

The Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder

I fell in love with this little, white lace number the moment I saw it. I can easily wear this top with a pair of skinnies or wide-leg trousers, a pair of summer denim shorts, or with a cute little skirt for an evening out. There are many versions of "the cold shoulder" top, so it's important you find the one that is right for you. And if baring it all makes you uncomfortable, try tops with cut-out shoulders to achieve a similar look.

The Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder

The Cold Shoulder Deets...

  1. White lace cold shoulder top pictured above: H&M $59.99
  2. Cupcakes & Cashmere Sunset Lace Off the Shoulder Top: Nordstrom $148.00
  3. Pleated Top with Cut Out Shoulders: Zara $39.90



The Best Boyfriend

My love for denim runs immensely deep and there is barely a day when I am not found in a pair of jeans! I have my favourites and I love everything from skinny to 70’s flare, but the one style that speaks comfort like no other, is the boyfriend. Surprisingly, boyfriend jeans are incredibly easy to wear and can be dressed up or down with minimal effort!

ELLA HAUS PHOTOGRAPHY

ELLA HAUS PHOTOGRAPHY

My favourite combo with boyfriend jeans is a slim fit blouse and leather jacket. This combination works so well because the blouse adds femininity and the leather jacket adds polish. Any shoe (from flats to heels or booties) can be worn with this look and can take you from day to night with ease!

ELLA HAUS PHOTOGRAPHY

ELLA HAUS PHOTOGRAPHY

Boyfriend jeans can also be worn by every body type! Here are some tips to guide you on finding the right cut for your body:

If you have a boyish frame, look for jeans that are somewhat slim on the hip and tapered near the ankle…like these: Paradise Mine

If you have a curvy frame, straight jeans will suit you best…like these: Citizen of Humanity

If you have a petite frame, look for jeans that have a mid-rise and tapered ankle…like these: Rag and Bone