Now that summer is here, dress season is in full swing! I really love the shift dress style (a less tailored option with a short hemline) for warmer weather and windy days because the looser fit makes them less clingy and they’re not billowy enough to have to wrestle with against the wind. Since I’m on the shorter end of the spectrum, I love to wear shift dresses with heels to give me some extra height, as sometimes the straight and narrow fit of the dress can shorten my already petite torso. Not going to lie, I’m jealous of you taller ladies because I think shift dresses look amazing when dressed down with a pair of sneakers! See my summer shift dress picks below and tell me which one will you be rocking all season long! P.S. All the dresses are under $100!
Forever 21 Colorblocked Houndstooth Shift Dress (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
Target Merona Lulu Block Heeled Sandals in Black (linked above) Also worn here
BaubleBar Bahama Pom Pom Earrings (linked above)
“Mod Mini” Photographed by Luke Bowes
Hello from New York City! My summer in the city is officially underway and I couldn’t be happier about it! Luke and I headed to the Whitney Museum last week to enjoy the warmth and sunshine on their amazing patio space and peeked at a few of their new exhibits. Read about my first visit to the Whitney and the MoMA here.
I love wearing rompers on these hot days we’ve been having lately and they’re especially nice for times when you’ll be doing quite a lot of walking. Whether you’re exploring your vacation town or visiting a theme-park, they’re such a great cool & comfortable summer wardrobe staple, so I linked several of my favorite options that can take you from day to night all summer long.
Victoria Beckham x Target Orange Scallop Romper (still available in plus size, similar options linked)
Target A+ Black & White Quarter Strap Sandal (no longer available, similar options linked)
BaubleBar Sandbar Drops in Yellow (linked above) Also worn here
“Rooftop Romper” Photographed by Luke Bowes
As soon as I booked tickets for the Create & Cultivate conference, I began putting together my outfits for the event. It was love at first sight when I scrolled upon this gorgeous lace blouse from Chicwish, a popular clothing company among the blogging community and a retailer I had been wanting to try out for quite some time. I placed my order on April 12th and felt a sense of relief as my outfit began to come to life. Even though the blouse was the first piece I ordered, around the middle of the month I began to wonder if it would arrive in time for the conference. Chicwish had emailed me an order confirmation, but I didn’t realize that there was no shipment confirmation until I received one on April 27th, over two weeks after I placed my order. I emailed customer service and after some back and forth, I was able to get a really sketchy tracking number that didn’t tell me much other than when my order had shipped out of China.
I arrived back home on Sunday after the conference to find my Chicwish order in the mailbox (just my luck!). 🙄 The top was well-constructed and arrived in tact (no loose stitches or holes), but I have a hard time saying that I was “impressed” by the quality- it retails for $60 and I’ve never paid more than $30 for a blouse of similar quality at Forever 21. I’m really lucky that it fit so well, because according to other reviews online, their return policy is an absolute nightmare and you have to pay to have the items returned to China before you’re eligible for a refund. I won’t lie and say I’m not in love with this top- it may be my favorite in my closet right now, but I really have mixed feelings about Chicwish after my first purchase with them.
I really wish my experience had been a better one, because I think they have so many cute and unique styles that are hard to find and/or are more expensive elsewhere, but I have a hard time supporting dishonest companies. Not telling me that something is out of stock and won’t ship out until two weeks after my order is placed (even though the funds were deducted from my account immediately after I ordered) is very dishonest. I also really don’t appreciate companies that treat bloggers differently than they would treat paying customers. When one of your favorite influencers recommends a new product or retailer, there is a level of trust that you’ve developed in them as a reader that makes it easier to branch out and try new things and products. Based on the numerous blogger raves, I expected much more from Chicwish. I’m not pinning this on bloggers because I’m sure many of them have never been on the consumer end in their exchanges with Chicwish and probably don’t know that this is happening, but it is unfortunate that their sponsored posts don’t depict the truth about their company’s sketchy practices.
It’s pretty frustrating when you find a company whose products you love, but their values just don’t align with yours. I won’t be ordering from Chicwish again after this experience and I wanted to warn all of you about their unprofessional business practices, hopefully before you find yourself in a similar situation. I always want to be completely transparent and having worked in retail in the past, I place a high value on customer service and am not afraid in the least bit to call out a company in need of improvement. To end on a positive note, these trousers were my first ASOS purchase and I was really impressed with both the quality of the product (very accurately depicted on the website and nicely constructed), and how quickly the order arrived. There’s always a silver lining, ehh?
What’s the best (or worst!) online shopping experience you’ve ever had?! And yes, Amazon Prime orders count, too! 😂
Chicwish Crochet Top with Bell Sleeves (exact & similar options linked)
ASOS Tailored Pants in Dusty Pink (exact & similar options linked)
J. Crew Scalloped Shorts in Black (exact & similar options linked)
ALDO Bellone Shoes with Block Heel in Bone (exact linked)
Target Sugarfix by Baublebar Hoop Earrings in Gold (exact linked) Also worn here
“Bell Sleeve Blouse + My First Chicwish Experience” Photographed by Luke Bowes
For those of you who don’t know me personally, you should know that I rank a solid 10 on the introvert scale. Impending social events will have me in anxious knots for days, even weeks, sometimes. I do enjoy making new friends, but the repetitive process of rounds of introductions coupled with shallow small talk stresses me out to the max. I even read this book in preparation for the Create & Cultivate conference (and would definitely recommend- even for extroverts!). Blogging can be pretty solitary, but when it comes to networking events, making connections & contacts face to face is vital. I made a point to reach out to meet some other attendees, so I’d at least see some familiar faces at the conference and would be more at ease. Taking that initial leap of faith to reach out to a handful of total strangers online is how I was able to meet Alexis, a fellow creative based in Nashville who has her own blog and podcast, “The Laptop Lifestyle”. We ended up really hitting it off- heading to dinner after our Happy Hour event on Friday evening, accompanying each other at all of our panels on Saturday, and before saying our goodbyes on Sunday, deciding to make the most of our time in the city and wake up early to stroll the empty city streets and take some photos. Surrounding yourself with others who understand you, whether on a personal or emotional level, or just in shared similar interests & aspirations is so empowering and I headed back home with a renewed sense of all of the possibilities that can appear and amazing people you can connect with when you get out of your own head and begin to test your comfort zone.
Here are a few simple tips to help YOU start stepping outside of your comfort zone;
- INITIATE A COFFEE DATE Maybe it’s with an old friend who you’d like to reconnect with, someone who you admire and look up to, or just someone who you feel needs a friend.
- ATTEND A CLASS I’ve taken three classes this year at various venues (an essential oils class sponsored by my local Parks & Recreation Department, a class about how to grow sprouts and micro-greens at my local Co-Op, and a talk on the benefits of the herb Turmeric at my local library) and they are a great way to meet new people who share similar interests in a learning and self-improving environment. Having a task at hand is a great tactic for introverts to feel more comfortable in social situations (I’m telling you, read the book!)
- WEIGH GOALS AGAINST ACTIONS Maybe you’re looking for a career change to a completely new industry that you know NO ONE in, so you need to network to get your name out there and meet potential employers and/or clients. Is landing your dream job worth a little time spent networking? The actions needed to achieve our goals often look much more accomplishable and less intimidating when we look at the bigger picture of what we’re working towards and writing them out (yes on pen & paper!) helps, too!
MICHAEL Michael Kors 4-Pocket Utility Anorak in Orange Spice (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top (a few sizes left, similar options linked) Also worn here
Ok, I know I’ve said before that off-the-shoulder isn’t really my thing, so I want to firstly apologize for having two outfits featuring OTS styles back to back… A girl can change her mind, right?! What I really love about this dress is that while it’s still fitted, the voluminous ruffled neck-line detail adds such interest to something as simple as a white dress. It may just be one of my favorite Forever 21 purchases ever! I fell in love with these earrings from BaubleBar and even though they’re quite vibrant, I think they’ll go with so many things- like a simple white tee or my favorite black & white striped tee with boyfriend jeans. I was super excited to try out BaubleBar for the first time, as it’s a pretty popular online jewelry destination for bloggers and I love their unique and fun pieces. Most of you know that I’m not really into jewelry all that much, but I do love a great pair of statement earrings, and good quality ones are getting harder and harder to find at Forever 21. Even though they are made in China, I was pleased with the quality of this pair and they were packaged well for the shipping process. Since they offer free shipping with every purchase, I’m considering buying one new piece from them every month to begin to build a real accessory collection- because the one I have now is basically non-existent! 🙈 What’s one thing that you wish you had more of in your closet?
BaubleBar Sandbar Drops in Yellow (linked above)
Forever 21 White Off-the-Shoulder Dress with Contrast Detail (no longer available, similar options linked)
Target Merona Lulu Block Heeled Sandals in Black (linked above)
100 Percent Pure Lip Caramel in Scotch Kiss (linked above)
“Flamenco Fun” photographed by Luke Bowes
Any time someone pays us a visit here in Durham, one of my favorite spots to go when showing them around is Sarah P. Duke Gardens. This lush on-campus oasis is such a gorgeous retreat, with 55 acres of four separate garden areas, featuring a wide variety of regional and seasonal plants. I’d been a few times before, but it truly felt like a new, magical wonderland during my visit of the Spring season. Everywhere you look, you’re surrounded by a rainbow of blooms! I loved this H&M gingham off-the-shoulder top on its own, but I just couldn’t help but throw my new Victoria Beckham for Target bee-print scarf around my neck to add a little playfulness to the look. I’ve noticed that many girls style OTS with very minimal accessories so that the neckline does all of the talking, but I think they’re the perfect tops to pair with statement-making neckwear, whether it’s a chunky necklace, a choker, or a bandana or light scarf. I’m wearing my white jeans once again (I can now assure you that you NEED some white denim for Spring & Summer!), and I kept the accessories dark to tie into the specks of black in the scarf. Now tell me- what’s your favorite Spring flower? I love daffodils! They had the cutest mini ones in the gardens hiding underneath the tulips! 🤗
H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top (linked above)
Joe’s Cropped White Jeans (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
Victoria Beckham for Target Bee Print Scarf (sold out online, similar option linked)
Target Sam & Libby Lace-up Sandals (no longer available, similar options linked) Also worn here
“Gingham in the Gardens” Photographed by Luke Bowes & Emily Davis