Denim Shorts a Summer Staple

denim shorts
No summer wardrobe is complete without a comfortable pair of denim shorts.  I had been looking for a pair of casual denim shorts for a while, but all the ones I found were either too short, too high-waisted or overly distressed.  I don’t mind a rip here or there, but I don’t want my shorts to look like they’ve been put through a paper shredder and barely survived. So I was really excited when I found this pair at H&M for only $9.99!

Shades of Blue | Watch Carmen Style!

The denim material is super soft and contains just the right amount of stretch.  The stretch is just enough to keep the shorts comfortable, but not enough for the butt to get droopy after wearing them all day.  Most importantly they are not high-waisted.  I don’t know about you, but that current trend is NOT working for my short-waisted body! I can not wait for low-rise to come back in.

denim shorts

One of the things I like about wearing denim shorts and a simple t-shirt is that I can really play around with accessories and make them the focal point of the outfit.  I’m currently having a love affair with hats (specifically fedoras) and kind of planned my entire outfit around this particular hat.  I’m finding myself doing that a lot lately.  Another reason I purchased these shorts is because they almost perfectly match the trim running around the outside of the hat.  You can’t really see in these pictures, but the denim trim has a white and red stripe running along the top and bottom.  That’s where I got the idea to wear red shoes and a red necklace in order to pull out that color from the trim.

denim shorts

Shirt: Express | Shorts: H&M | Shoes: Toms (old similar here) | Bag: Fossil (old similar here) | Hat: Banana Republic | WATCH: fossil | bracelet: lucky brand (OLD) | Necklace: Gift

How do you like to style denim shorts?  Have you found a great pair of denim shorts for the summer?  If not, then I highly recommend these shorts from H&M! 

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Photography: Susan McDonald

A Beginners Guide to Styling a Bold Print: Featuring Floral Shorts from H&M

floral shorts

Before we get into the tutorial let me take a minute to talk about how much I love these floral shorts from H&M! One of my favorite summer outfit pairings are a brightly colored top with a fun, patterned bottom. The moment I spotted these floral shorts at H&M I knew I had to have them. Nothing says summer like a tropical floral print. Plus, these floral shorts are only $12.99! How could you pass that up?

floral shorts

Top: Express | Shorts: H&M ( only available in stores other online options here and here) | Sandals: Justice (old) | Bag: Fossil (old similar here) | Hat: aerie

General Rule for Styling a Bold Print

Styling a garment that features a bold print, like these floral shorts from H&M, can be intimidating. A good rule of thumb when styling a bold print is to choose one color to highlight. By focusing on one color you create a starting point or base for building your outfit.   Your accessories and other garments will be determined upon this one color choice. Since this is a beginner’s guide we will just be dipping are toes into the vast world that encompasses styling a bold print/pattern. We will leave the exciting topic of pattern mixing for another more advanced tutorial. Listed below are the steps I take when styling only one bold print.

5 Basic Steps to Follow when Styling a Bold Print 

Step 1: Determine the colors featured in the print.  In the case of these floral shorts, the colors are magenta, light pink and yellow found in the flowers, a dark green, yellow green and tropical green featured in the leaves and bone-white makes up the background color.

floral shorts

Step 2: Pick one of these colors to pull from the pattern. In the case of these floral shorts, I choose the magenta found in the flowers. When choosing a color make sure that you choose one that goes well with your particular skin tone. For example, I would never choose a yellow or light green because it makes me look rather sickly.

floral shorts

 Step 3:  Next choose a garment that matches your chosen color. I went with a magenta t-shirt.

floral shorts

Step 4: Choose accessories that pull from the other colors in the pattern, but don’t take away from your main color. These floral shorts feature many bright and bold colors.  The magenta in particular really stands out.  Since I choose to highlight the magenta found in the shorts, I wouldn’t want too many of my accessories to feature the other bold colors.  It would just take away from my main color choice and make me look slightly ridiculous. For example, a bright yellow purse and hat would not look cute.

magenta

For my accessories, I choose a purse and hat that picks up the background color of the print and doesn’t compete against my main color choice. My earrings feature magenta and  the same green as the green in the leaves.  Since the green in the earrings is so small, it doesn’t take away from the magenta color that I’m trying to highlight.

floral shorts

Step 5: Choose a pair of shoes the same color as your feature color or you can go with a neutral.  I don’t own a pair of shoes in this particular color so I went with a basic silver sandal.  I do think a magenta sandal would have looked fabulous.

As long as you follow these five steps you will be able to style any bold print.

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Photography: Susan McDonald

Product Review: Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray & Benefit’s POREfessional

Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray Deslick

On my last trip to Sephora, I decided to purchase two new trial samples of Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray De-slick and Benefit POREfessional. When testing out new products to review on the blog, I always try to buy a sample size and use it over the course of several weeks. I feel that it’s the only way to truly test the quality of a product without forking over the big bucks for a full size bottle. Both of these products are from brands I love and I was excited to see whether they lived up to all claims on the packaging.

Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray Deslick

Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray

Summers in Alabama are hot, humid and wreak havoc on one’s makeup. Tired of having my makeup melt off, I purchased a sample size version of the Urban Decay Oil Control Makeup Setting Spray De-slick. As someone with oily combination skin, I have a terrible time with my t-zone appearing all oily and shiny. This is especially true during a hot summer. I have been looking for a makeup setting spray that works for a while. Urban Decay states on the packaging that it “mists on weightlessly to control oil, deflect surface shine and keep skin looking beautifully matte.”

Claims to mist on weightlessly to control oil, deflect surface shine and keep skin looking beautifully matte.

After wearing this product to three separate outdoor events held in 80 to 90 degree heat, I have to say that the product did an excellent job at keeping my shine under control and my makeup looking fresh.   I never had to reapply any of my makeup or the setting spray. Most importantly the setting spray kept my t-zone from getting oily and helped to maintain that matte finish that I am looking for.

Makeup stays put even on humid, 90 degree days and keeps skin looking matte. 

They are not kidding when they say to spray the product 8 to 10 inches from your face.   Even at 10 inches away my face still felt fairly wet and I did have to lightly pat my face dry with a towel. Once the setting spray soaked in to my skin, I couldn’t tell I was wearing anything. Unlike some setting sprays, De-slick did not leave my skin feeling sticky.

Upon application the product leaves face feeling slightly wet, but it is quickly absorbed by skin with no sticky feeling residue.

As far as price goes, De-slick is reasonably priced at $30 for a 4oz bottle and $14 for a 1oz bottle. Based on the sheer lasting power of the setting spray and its overall effectiveness at keeping me shine free, I give this product an A+ rating. I totally plan on buying the full size bottle after my sample size runs out. If you live in a hot, humid climate and have oily skin, then this product should definitely be added to your makeup collection.

Grade: A+

Benefit The POREfessional

Benefit The POREfessional

I’ve always known that I have huge pores. This problem became even more evident after starting a blog and having to stare at pictures of myself. Wanting to correct this problem I purchased Benefit’s the POREfessional which promised to “quickly minimize the appearance of pores.” Based on the enthusiastic claims from the Sephora sales girl, I expected a lot from this product. Maybe I set my hopes to high, but upon application I was totally underwhelmed. I noticed no real difference in the visibility or size of my pores. None, zip, nada. My pores looked just the same except with a thin layer of product over them. The product did create a matte finish, but quickly wore off leaving my skin looking super shiny.

Did nothing to reduce the visibility of pores and the matte finish wore off quickly.

Disappointed in the results from this product, I went online to see if others had experienced similar problems. I found that reviewers who have oily skin found that the product did not work well for them. For many of these reviewers the product just intensified the look of their oily skin or slid right off. Since I too have oily skin, it makes sense that I too had similar results. Reviewers with normal to dry skin did seem to see good results and raved about the products ability to minimize the visibility of their pores. It’s also important to note that the Sephora sales girl stated that she had dry skin which may explain why the product worked so well for her.

Works well on normal to dry skin types, but not on oily skin types.

At $31.00 for a .75oz and $10.00 for .25oz it is reasonably priced when compared to other pore minimizing products. Based on my own experience I definitely recommend buying the sample size since individual results do seem to vary.

Honestly, I want to give this product an F rating. BUT . . . Since it seems to work well on normal to dry skin types, I cautiously give this product a C rating.   I would not recommend this product to anyone with oily skin, because it just doesn’t really work well. Overall, I’m really disappointed in this product from Benefit and will probably be throwing it out.

Grade: C

Have you guys tried these products?  If so did you have similar results to mine?

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Summer Barbecue Outfit Ideas

summer barbecue outfit ideas

Nothing says summer like a good, old-fashioned barbecue. It’s the perfect way to spend those hot summer days with friends, family and a plate of tasty ribs. Food and friendship is an integral part of the barbecuing experience, but so is staying comfortable. It can be hard to look cute and stylish while battling 90 degree heat. I’ve put together some tips on what makes the perfect barbecue outfit as well as compiled suggestions for summer barbecue outfit ideas.


summer barbecue outfit ideas

Summer Barbecue Outfit Tips

  1. Wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes and to protect your face from sun damage.
  2. Comfortable, flat sandals are a must for navigating your away around uneven backyards or when balancing a plateful of food.
  3. To keep cool wear loose, comfortable clothes made of breathable fabric.
  4. Stand out by wearing a bright color.
  5. Limit the amount of jewelry to keep your outfit casual.
  6. Barbecue is messy so wear clothes that can withstand getting spilled on.


summer barbecue outfit ideas

Top: Anthropologie | Shorts: Express | Hat: Banana Republic | Sandals: American Eagle (very old similar here) Bag: Fossil | Necklace & Earrings: Francesca’s (very old) | Watch: Fossil

The above outfit is one that I put together following my summer barbeque outfit tips.  I choose a bright colored top by Anthropologie made of a soft cotton material.  The blousy top kept me from getting overheated. Paired with loose denim shorts and flat sandals ensured that I stayed comfortable for the entire length of the barbecue.  I have to admit that I love the hat. It’s the perfect summer accessory as it adds a certain level of sophistication to the outfit and keeps the sun out of my eyes!

 Summer Barbecue Outfit Ideas

Summer barbecues are casual which gives you the flexibility to wear just about anything.  Below I have put together several sets of outfits to inspire you.  Hopefully these sets will give you the inspiration you need to achieve your perfect summer barbecue look!

Typically people wear shorts and t-shirts to barbecues; however, its fun to stand out from the crowd by wearing unexpected combinations.  I personally love exchanging a t-shirt for a fun peasant top.

summer barbecue outfit ideas

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 Looking for more summer barbecue outfit ideas? Try a cute summer dress to keep yourself cool and stylish.  A fun straw purse adds to that summer feel.


summer barbecue outfit ideas

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13

I hope these pictures provided you with inspiration for some perfect summer barbecue outfit ideas. Which one is your favorite?

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Tennessee Natchez Trace Wine Trail

Amber Falls Winery Tennessee Natchez Trace Wine Trail

Looking for fabulous wine? Then look no further than Amber Falls Winery & Cellars part of Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Wine Trail. Amber Falls Winery is one of four wineries featured on the Natchez Trace Wine Trail. The other wineries include Natchez Hills Vineyard, Grinders Switch Winery and Key Springs Winery all located southwest of Nashville near Columbia, Tennessee. Amber Falls features wines ranging from dry red wines to specialty fruit wines. The People’s Choice Blackberry wine is fabulous and tastes great dribbled over vanilla ice cream.

Tennessee Wine Trail

Amber Falls Winery & Cajun Fest

We discovered Amber Falls winery when our friends invited us to enjoy the winery’s annual Cajun Fest held on Memorial Day Weekend. I had no idea there were local wineries located near Nashville, Tennessee. Whenever I think of Tennessee, Jack Daniels is the liquor that comes to mind.

Amber Falls Winery & Vineyard

Cajun Fest was a blast! Horse and buggy rides ferried everyone from the parking lots to the winery tasting rooms. The festival was held under the trees that surround the tasting room which provided much needed shade from the hot sun. Cajun dishes ranging from jambalaya to fried alligator cooked by authentic Cajun chefs were available for eating. Crawfish races, Cajun cooking demonstrations, and music were all held in various tents which created a fun filled atmosphere. Of course the best part of Cajun fest would have to be the Cajun Fest wine specially produced for the event. The wine features a sweet red blend of Concord, Chambourcin and Chancellor grapes infused with Cajun spices.

Cajun Fest

The tasting room was open throughout the event and we had a great time sampling all their varieties of wine. One of the things I loved best about Amber Fall’s selection would be their selection of sweet red wines. I hate dry, red wines. They just do nothing for me. So it’s great to find a nearby winery that was so many sweet red wine alternatives.

Since this is a fashion blog, I have some tips on what to wear when you visit a winery or participate in a wine festival.

Winery

 Hat: Target | Shirt: Old Navy | Shorts: Old Navy | Sandals: Justice (very old, similar here up to size 9) | Bag: Fossil

5 Wine Trail Fashion Tips

  1. Keep your body cool by wearing loose and comfortable clothes.
  2. Wear a hat and sunglasses to keep away the sun’s glare when out walking around the vineyard.
  3. Do not wear white! Wine will be spilled and splashed all over you. I made that mistake!
  4. If you do have wine spilled all over you, then bring a jacket to cover the stains. The number of people I saw trying to cover wine stains with jackets was quite funny.
  5. Finally wear flats. You will get tipsy/drunk so flats mitigate the risk of falling flat on your face.

Amber Falls Winery

If your ever near Nashville, then I highly recommend Amber Falls Winery & Cellars. For more information on the Natchez Trace Wine Trail as well as a map click here.
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Try Wearing a Tribal Print Dress!

Target-Tribal-Print-Dress

Looking to add fun prints to your summer wardrobe?  Then try a bold tribal print. Nothing says summer more than a fun tribal print dress.  This tribal print dress, featuring an ikat inspired print, was purchased from Target several years ago and has become my go to summer dress.  The bright colors and graphic design make me think of exotic places in tropical locales. If your looking for your own tribal print dress, then you have a wide variety of styles and prints to choose from.

Tribal-Print-Dress

Dress: Target (old) other styles here & here | Jacket: American Eagle | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (old similar here) | Bracelet: Lucky Brand (old similar here)

Tribal Print Dress Styling Tips

When styling a tribal print dress, I recommend using simple accessories.  Tribal patterns are bold, bright and busy.  You don’t want equally bold or busy accessories to compete with the beauty of the pattern. Choose accessories that are neutral in color or pull out a particular color/shade already featured in the pattern.  

Tribal-Print-Dress

My denim jacket and necklace are a light and dark blue which mirror the shades of blue repeated throughout the pattern on the dress.  My dark brown, leather bracelet features a neutral color in order to not compete with the bright colors of my dress. jessica simpson wedges
My light brown, leather shoes are again neutral.  Plus they are not too far off from the color of my skin. This keeps them from competing with the pattern in my dress.

Background on the Ikat Pattern

In main-stream fashion, tribal serves as an umbrella term for African, Asian and Native American inspired prints. My own tribal print dress features an adaptation of an ikat (pronounced ee-kaht) pattern.  The term ikat is Malaysian for tie or bind together. Traditional ikat designs are created by dying bundles of threads tied off with grass or using wax-resistant treated cotton.  This allows the dye to penetrate different areas of the thread. The weaver determines where on the thread the dye should or shouldn’t penetrate in order to create the desired pattern when woven on the loom.  As you can imagine Target did not go to all this trouble when creating the fabric for my dress.  This is why I consider this dress more of an inspired ikat design.  To learn more about the history of an ikat pattern I recommend checking out this article by Apartment Therapy.  Below are some examples of actual ikat prints.

ikat examples

Looking carefully at these examples you can see how there is a slight bleeding around the edges of the pattern. This is caused from the dying method used when creating the Ikat pattern.  In the picture below, you can also see the actual technique that the weavers use when dying the fabric.  

ikat weaving technique

An excellent article on how to actually create ikat fabric can be found on the blog Decorating Files by Peggy Pardo.  The above picture is from Peggy’s article All About Ikat! and can be found here.  After reading the article I have a real appreciation for all the work put in to creating these beautiful textiles. I know that I wouldn’t have the patience!

Do you plan on wearing any tribal prints this summer? If so, can you tell if it’s an ikat inspired print?

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