Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Try-On J.Crew and Abercrombie


We are about to head into Black Friday/Cyber Monday and it's really going to end up being 'Cyber Week as a lot of brands and retailers are starting their sales well before Black Friday or Cyber Monday! I have done a few try-ons on Instagram stories lately so I wanted to share them here with sizing information so if you are shopping you'll be able to use this as your resource! I know not everyone watches instastories and I know a lot of you miss them from day-to-day! 

This sweater is something I ordered on a whim because I thought it was a 'cute' ugly Christmas sweater. I styled it as if I were headed out to an ugly Chrismas sweater party, ha! It runs true to size, I'm wearing a size small. The plaid pumps are from Tuckernuck a few years ago, but I linked to an almost identical pair. 

I'm linking my blush pink leather phone case because I always get a lot of questions about it. It is under $50 and would make such a nice holiday gift. 
 This sherpa is one of my favorites. I also have it in green. They are warm and cozy and definitely a winter weight. The sherpa runs true to size. I am wearing a size small. Right now, it is $46 with code THESKIMM.

These Pajamas run true to size. I sometimes size up in pajamas because I like a looser/oversized fit but didn't need to size up with these. I'm wearing a small in both the top and bottom.

The slippers are a MUST. If you don't have a pair and live in a cold climate, they will change your life and I'm not being dramatic. They are so warm and cozy. If I am in my house, I have them on. They are under $100 so they also make a great gift. They also have a men's version, too. My fiancé has two pair because he loves them so much. 
This dress is beautiful. So elegant and chic. It's something you could wear to Thanksgiving dinner but also to the office. It's high quality and thick and warm. Size down. I got a size small and returned for XS but probably could have even gotten the XXS! 

These pumps are my favorite black suede pumps that I always wear. They are by Dior but I always link a very similar and much more affordable option since my Dior version is no longer available. 

I ordered this coat because I thought it would be a pretty 'topper' over an all-black outfit and it is! I wear a lot of black in the winter and this coat just breaks that up a bit and adds a classic touch. This coat runs true to size, if you are between sizes, size down! 

A few of you DM'd me and asked 'is this really men's' in regard to the sweater. And yes, it really is! I check out the men's section in some brands like Abercrombie, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren because their size xs and small is pretty similar to a women's size small. I also find they make a lot more classic-style pieces (especially in the winter months) and often they are high quality than women's items. No idea why, but this is your tip to shop the men's section. Even Old Navy has some cute men's items that work for women! I am wearing a size small in this sweater and it fits slightly oversized but in a pretty way. Love it so much. 

This was a little out of my comfort zone and I ended up returning the pants. I really loved the high quality, classic glen plaid wool of the pants. It looks very Ralph Lauren menswear. The nipped-in waist is very flattering but the ballooning of the pants in the legs was a little too much for me personally. I do think that if you are into a trendier style of pants, though, this could work for you.

The turtleneck is such a wardrobe staple and it's so great when you can find 'boring' but necessary pieces like this on major sale! I like this turtleneck better than the tissue ones because it's a little more structured!

 This metallic tank is such a fun party top. It runs really big so size down one size (at least). It looks so great with velvet skinnies for a party look that doesn't involve a dress or skirt. This would be a great choice for a New Year's Eve party.

 I originally bought this sherpa pullover (wearing size small) to wear with leggings as an athleisure look, but this is actually a dressier top. It's thick and the inside of it is a soft faux suede material. It's pretty but just not for athleisure!! These velvet skinnies are one of my favorite pairs of pants. I wear them SO much during the winter months. I have had them for years and they wash so well. I am wearing my usual size 27.

This sweater is one of my FAVORITES of the season. It's soft but structured and has a great little zip detail on the sleeve. It is made of a special thread that is meant to be lightweight but very warm. The perfect aprés ski sweater and I love it paired with these Nordic boots. I got these a year or two ago and they are like 'fancy' Uggs. For example, I wouldn't really wear my traditional Ugg boots out to a restaurant or anything like that, but I would totally wear these Nordic boots! They only come in whole sizes. I am usually in between 8.5 and 9 and went with the 9. They are slightly big but just enough room for a really thick sock. 

The sweater runs a little bit. I am wearing an XS (my usual size is small). 

I am soooooo excited about these fleece pieces. You already know I love my Brighton Boatneck (and can read about it here) and I was just sent my two dream pieces!!! I love the high low fleece for wearing with leggings to and from Orange Theory. The bright neon pink makes me so happy early in the freezing mornings. I am wearing a size medium which is the same size I got in the boatneck. I would get your usual size unless you are broad in the shoulders or have a larger chest. I have broad shoulders and sized up! The joggers are INCREDIBLE. They are so warm and cozy but actually look presentable as in you could wear them out of the house. I am wearing a size small. I would sometimes size up in joggers because I don't like a tight fit, but these are plenty roomy. If you are between sizes, size down! These two pieces would make such a wonderful holiday gift. I think anything cozy is just the best gift because you often don't splurge on cozy items for yourself! 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Registry Must-Have: Nespresso Machine

Registry Must-Have: Nespresso Machine







I have had a Nespresso-brand machine for 7+ years and got my parents one because I loved mine so much. If you are a bride-to-be and don't have one and love coffee or espresso, I highly recommend adding a Nespresso machine to your registry. We got our current machine from Macy's (you can add one to a Macy's registry).

I am personally someone that loves black coffee Monday-Friday (which, if you didn't know, you can brew coffee on this machine). But the most special part, in my opinion, is that you can create other espresso and coffee-based drinks with the machine. I love cappuccinos and while I don't typically make them during the week, I savor my weekend mornings when I make a frothy cappuccino and just get to relax in my pajamas. It makes weekend mornings more special and just something small and simple to look forward to. 

What's nice about the Nespresso machine is that each drink you make can be totally different. So, for example, I like darker, bolder roasts, and my fiancé likes a lighter roast. My fiancé likes whole milk and I use skim. It's nice that we are able to craft our own drinks quickly and easily. 

Oh and one thing that I think is SO necessary is that the water tank is removable from the machine for easy refilling. I had a machine once that wasn't removable (and was also in the back of the machine) and it drove me absolutely NUTS. Plus, the water tank is on the side so it's easy to take out and put back in. 

Our Nespresso machine is pretty small (much smaller than our coffee machine) so it doesn't take up much space on our counters, but also, when we put it away during the week, it's small enough so that it's not taking up an entire cabinet. This is the machine I love and have used for years and highly recommend, but there are a lot of other options, too. They all vary in size and color and can do different things. This one is seriously perfect if you live in a small apartment with limited counter space!

Besides weekends, I also love using it when we have house guests. It feels so fancy to be able to serve up cappuccinos and lattes for guests and it's nice that they are able to pick what type of roast they like. And speaking of guests, I absolutely love it when a hotel room has a Nespresso machine in it!! Heavenly! 

The ease of it is truly something. You just pop in a pod, press a button, and there you have it. No cleanup, no packing grounds, nothing. So, if you wanted an every-morning latte, or whatever it may be, this is totally doable in seconds.

The frother is also totally worth it. Besides cappuccinos and lattes, I LOVE making hot chocolate with frothed milk. It takes it to the next level!

With the holiday season on the horizon, besides being a good wedding or shower gift, a Nespresso machine would make such a nice gift for anyone but especially for new parents who might be a bit sleep deprived or for a law student studying at all hours of the night. 


Thank you to Macy's for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Service Sunday: Amen to Action

Service Sunday: Amen to Action Pittsburgh

Service Sunday: Amen to Action Pittsburgh

Service Sunday: Amen to Action Pittsburgh
Amen to Action is an annual meal packing event that brings thousands together on Black Friday to give back to their community. Founded by Reid Carpenter in 2017, Amen to Action got its start when Reid gathered a network of local leaders who shared one goal: to connect people of all faiths, create a platform of spirit and harmony, and help make a difference for the city of Pittsburgh’s hungry and less fortunate by packing a million meals.

At its start in 2017, Amen to Action partnered with Meals of Hope and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to bring more than 3,000 volunteers together to pack over one million meals, that were then distributed through the Pittsburgh Food Bank to more than 400 area food pantries and school programs.

For the third consecutive year, Amen to Action will again host thousands of volunteers at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on November 29 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. On a day that normally focuses on shopping, Amen to Action will break away from consumerism and instead shine a light on what really matters during the holiday season: giving back.

At last year’s event, Amen to Action volunteers packed 1,036,111 meals for Pittsburgh-area less fortunate, breaking the record for packing the most meals in one location (our own record from 2017). This year, Amen to Action hopes to break the record again!

How to Get Involved
Instead of spending the day shopping, Amen to Action invites you to come and truly make a difference in your community. To get involved, you can register to volunteer or donate on our website, our Facebook page, or our Twitter page.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Saturday Shopping


Happy weekend! Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend and doing something fun. I am headed to an event with Headspace today which I am very excited for. I’m glad I get to bring my fiancé along to this, too! Tonight we are having dinner with friends and tomorrow I have to do some work.

Lots of finds from this week and I can’t get enough. I just love when so many good things come out for the holidays. I love seeing all of the cute gift sets and festive outfits!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Easy Holiday Appetizers, Side Dishes, Dessert

Hey guys! It’s me, Callie! For those of you who don't know, I'm Sydney's younger sister. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my fiancé (pictured above) and our dog, Bean. I work in marketing and I am also planning a wedding! 

I’m here today to share some easy holiday recipes that you can bring along to any party or serve at your next event. Whether it's Friendsgiving or Christmas Eve, these work well for everything! These are all super simple recipes that anyone can do (even Sydney- she is not the chef in the family so that's why she has me writing this post!). These have been some fan favorites that I’ve made for my own friends. I’m going to show you two appetizers, two side dishes, and two desserts. The links to the original recipes are there as well! Let’s get on with the food!

Easy Holiday Appetizers, Side Dishes, Dessert
Appetizers:

Let’s start with some apps! These are some of the easiest things on my list. For the bacon crackers you just need to grab some Club Crackers, bacon and brown sugar. Then you spoon the sugar onto the crackers, wrap bacon around the cracker and bake. Voila! They do take 2 hours to cook though, so keep that in mind (but are WORTH IT). Everyone loves bacon so I can always count on these to impress people. 

For the peppers, you just have to cut the peppers in half and discard their the seeds and membranes, then mix all of the other ingredients like the cream cheese in a bowl to spoon in. You do have to put in a little extra effort to cook the bacon (more bacon yay!) and then BAM! You’re Emeril.

Easy Holiday Appetizers, Side Dishes, Dessert

Sides:

This is my favorite section! These will make you look like Julia Childs when really you made this in like 20 minutes. The Tarte Aux Moutarde sounds fancy, I know, but it’s not fancy to make. You grab your pre-bought store dough and layer all of the other ingredients on top and then you have a beautiful savory pie that looks like you slaved away all day. 

The colorful brussels are something even the most novice cooks can do. All you have to do is chop all of the veggies with agave, cinnamon, olive oil, and garlic powder. The last 5 minutes of roasting, add in the dried cranberries and pecans and you have the prettiest, most Instagram-worthy dish to show off. 

Easy Holiday Appetizers, Side Dishes, Dessert
Desserts:

Dessert is my middle name. Let me introduce you to a 3 ingredient dessert that will blow people's holiday minds. Take an Oreo apart and scrape off the cream. A true crime against humanity, I know. What kind of monster would do that? Well for this recipe you must sacrifice the delicious Oreo cream to up your dessert game. You just take the Oreo cookie and douse it in some melted chocolate but the trick is to put a few drops of peppermint extract in the chocolate to give it that thin mint taste. Bonus tip: for holiday flair add some crushed peppermints to the top. 

FYI no real monkeys were used in the making of monkey bread. This one's a crowd-pleaser that even your grandmother will love. In fact, our grammie has been making this for all of our holiday gatherings since we were born. It's a family favorite. You take buttermilk biscuit dough and chop it into small pieces and cover with a cinnamon butter mixture, toss it into a bundt cake pan and there you have it. A beautiful cake that looks straight out of your grandmothers cookbook. 

Most of being a good cook is just following a recipe! Just follow the few steps in these recipes and you’re already on your way to leveling up to be the next Ina Garten minus the oversized linen shirts.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lately

Ski Sweater// Leggings// Uggs// Sunglasses

It's time for another Lately and that means we are close to the weekend! This weekend, I am headed to an event with Headspace, a meditation app that I have used for years. It's so fun when events like this pop up because not much like this happens in Pittsburgh! I get extra excited when Pittsburgh gets some love and recognition from big brands!

Besides that, we have a LOT of things to do at the house. We got some things back from Framebridge which I'm super excited to hang and just other miscellaneous things that have been sitting on our to-do list for far too long. We also put up our Christmas tree! It's beautiful and was such a good deal. I have no shame in decorating early! We are hosting my sister's engagement party so we have been working overtime to get this house in order for the party in a few weeks.

This week has been great. On Monday, the weather was gorgeous and I didn't even need a coat. Then, Tuesday it snowed SO much and the temperatures plummeted. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, it was in the teens for temperature which is truly crazy for November in Pittsburgh. I am NOT here for it. But it looks like next week we will be back up to more seasonal weather, phew.

I've been working so hard on holiday content and it seems like you are all enjoying it, so I am glad the long hours are paying off! A fun post is scheduled for tomorrow and it will be totally different than anything I've ever posted before so stay tuned!


Wearing: Like a lot of places, it has been absolutely frigid the past few days. I have been wearing the warmest, coziest pieces I own. This ski sweater is my latest favorite thing. It has thermolite woven into the sweater making it lightweight but super warm. It runs big so size down. I am wearing a size XS. I'm wearing the sweater with these leggings which are my favorite. So buttery soft and thick. I have no shame wearing Ugg boots. I've worn them since high school and I might be their biggest fan. So darn comfortable and cozy. As you can see, red has been my thing lately. I've also been wearing this fleece pullover non-stop. I have it in green and get so much wear out of both. They're easy to wear lounging in leggings but also look cute with jeans.

Eating: I cannot get enough of Port Salut cheese. You can find it at Trader Joe's and most grocery stores. It is so good. It's kind of like brie but a little milder. If you have ever had Trader Joe's triple cream brie, it has a similar creamy texture to that! Highly recommend and since it's on the milder side, it would be a great crowd-pleasing cheese on a cheese board this holiday season. Also, those are Trader Joe's everything bu the bagel crackers and I am obsessed. They're so flavorful and pair so well with the port salut. 
Curtains (because so many have asked and they're currently $45)// Christmas Tree
Sale-ing: I just got this Christmas tree and it is on sale right now for $159 with free shipping. This past Monday, I went to a bunch of different stores that sell Christmas trees (like Home Depot, Target, etc.) and this tree was the least expensive and the nicest. I actually preferred it over a lot of other pricier trees. The branches are mixed and look decently real from far away. It's very full and there aren't any sparse areas. It doesn't look cheap and that was my biggest concern. We aren't getting a real tree because Henry would eat the fallen pine needles. We are still working on fluffing it out, going to add more lights (it's prelit, but I think it needs a strand or two more. And then going to add the rest of the ornaments. I'm a no-fuss kind of decorator when it comes to a tree. Classic ornaments with meaning collected over the years, some glass balls, strings of warm white lights, an angel up top and a nativity down below and that's it. My parents have always taken our tree down and put everything away and setting this all up on our own, I can already tell this is going to be a lot of effort to take down and store. Bless my parents for doing it all these years, haha!

Watching:
 We have been looking for a show to watch together for a while now and we finally started watching Jack Ryan. We love it!! It kind of reminds me of Homeland... kind of. 

Listening: This Selena x Justin mashup has been on replay for me all this week. Obsessed. 

Loving: Dudley Stephens is my biggest brand crush this season. I got their Brighton Boatneck in camel and cannot stop wearing it. I feel that it is really pretty and looks polished and yet you're basically wearing a fleece sweatshirt. It's nice to have these DS pieces on hand to throw over workout clothe after Orange Theory so I can look presentable out running errands. But it's also nice to have them on hand to wear out to dinner while also being very comfortable and warm. If you are looking for a high-quality clothing item to get for yourself or to gift this holiday season, this would be my #1 choice... well besides this faux fur vest, ha! Here's my blog post for sizing info.  


Wanting:
 All. The. Things. But in all seriousness- there is so much amazingness out right now and at the same time, I truly don't need any of this. But it's so fun to wish for and look at! I realllly love these black leather duck boots. They're like the 'city' version of a classic bean boot. 

Smelling: This candle smells like a cozy fireplace and you'd never guess it was only $10. The packaging is beautiful- I actually saw it in-store and this would make a cute hostess gift. 

Traveling: We aren't traveling anymore until December! Next up- Philadelphia for a wedding! 

Quoting: 'The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.'-Paulo Coelho // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Holiday Dress Round Up



Feathered Items because I know a lot of you are sad this dress is no longer available:

These photos are from year's past!

I have received TONS of DM's requesting dress options for November/December. I hear you!! You all have fun events, weddings, and more- lots of reasons to dress up. And I am so glad because so do I! I have been scouring all of my favorite sites to share with you all my favorites. I broke it down into 5 categories: casual, cocktail, sparkly for NYE, little black dress, and formal gowns. There are over 100 dresses in this post!!!!

I hope you find this helpful and fun because it took me FOREVER to find all of these dresses- ones that mesh with my personal style and the Summer Wind brand while keeping occasion and price in mind, too. I think there's something for everyone in this post!

I shared photos from year's past because I wanted to get this post up as early as possible so you all have the maximum amount of time to find something before your event! I'll share some styled photos of dresses I ordered coming soon!

These are all done in widgets so they might take a moment or two to load so please be patient!

CASUAL



COCKTAIL (that aren't black)




NYE SPARKLY



LBD



FORMAL GOWN

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Our Christmas Cards 2019




vineyard vines mens plaid breaker pants

We cropped this photo for the stamp and it cracks me up so much. He's always such a little ham for the camera but for this, it was SO HARD to get him to look at the camera. He was all over the place, hah! 
lilly pulitzer shawn maxi dress

lilly pulitzer shawn maxi dress
It was also the windiest day ever. We had to keep stopping hoping for the wind to pass! Look at my fiancé's hair blowing in this one and Henry not looking!! I almost love the outtakes as much as our end product! 
tartan plaid dog collar

lilly pulitzer shawn maxi dress
On Me (c/o Lilly Pulitzer):
Navy Gown (runs big, size down)// Gold Wedges  (very comfortable)// Cashmere Wrap

On Andrew:

Henry:

We are sending out our Christmas cards this year as a little family (please scroll down to the bottom of this post to see a discount code for 20% off that is also a way to give back)! I partnered with Minted and Lilly Pulitzer to create these and I am SO excited about them!! They turned out better than I could have imagined. 

I actually debated on whether or not we would send out holiday cards since we just sent out our save the dates and in a few months, we would be sending out our wedding invitations (!!!). After thinking it over, I thought it was a good idea. This is the first Christmas in our new home and the only Christmas we will be engaged. I love that I will have a card and photos to mark this season of our life. It's exciting and fun and I love that we could include Henry! 

My dad took the photos and he was so patient. As you read above, the wind was wild this day and we were worried about rain. We had originally planned shooting at a Christmas tree farm, but when we arrived, it was less than desirable (looked way better online). So we had to really be flexible here. We had to get the shots that particular day because when my fiancé gets home from work, it's too dark outside for photos and this was also a time my dad was free, too, so we had one shot! Henry always wants to be in photos and he is so good about sitting and looking at the camera without even being prompted. But this time, it's like he knew we needed good shots of him and he did not want to look at the camera, haha! The photo we ended up using is mostly because Henry was actually looking straight at the camera! The entire afternoon was truly just comical and I look at these photos and chuckle a little. 
minted framed photo leterpress holiday card
minted framed photo leterpress holiday card

We chose these Cards and these Stamps. They have a great letterpress selection. I liked the idea of letterpress because I feel like that's something you don't often see on a Christmas card. This doesn't 'feel' like a printed photo, you know? It feels like a beautiful card with texture and weight to it.  Use code FUNDRAISEWFSPA to get 20% off your order (details at the bottom of this post). 

A lot of the Minted Cards have add-on options. We added in a beautiful envelope liner (that pairs with the card) and also had our return address and all of the addresses printed on the envelopes. I also loved this particular Card because the back is entirely blank. I think it is SO important to write a personal note on a Christmas card and this has a great amount of space for that. 

For the stamps, we did Stamps. We did not do them for our save the dates and will not be doing them for our wedding invitations. This is because you can see that black bar code to the side of the stamps. On all personalized stamps (on any website) they have to have that big bar code. I think it takes away from a beautiful wedding invitation. We were happy to do it for holiday cards (or really any other type of correspondence, just not a black-tie elegant invitation), though. It features Henry and I just think it's too funny. The red also pairs nicely with everything else on the card.

My biggest tip for family photos and sending out holiday cards is to pick out your card before you take the photos. For this particular card, it had to be a landscape shot. I normally shoot all of my photos vertical, so we made sure to shoot a bunch landscape! You also want to keep in mind where the writing will be and either leave a blank spot in the photo for that (ex. use the sky for text or the grass) or make sure that the area is either dark enough or light enough to read the text. 

Also, take a ton of photos. Like I mentioned, it was so windy so we had to take a ton to get one where our hair wasn't blowing and we were all looking with our eyes opened. It's one thing for me to have photos shot of myself because I only have to worry about what I'm doing. But it's a whole other ballgame when you're shooting with multiple people. So many variables so just snap away!!! 

We have a black-tie wedding in December and I cannot wait to re-wear this gorgeous navy blue Lilly Pulitzer Maxi Dress. The pearl detailing around the neckline is beautiful. It's a simple column style gown making it easy to wear and to dance in. The navy blue crepe fabric is elegant and high quality! I got a small and had to exchange for an XS, so I would say that this runs big! Thank you to Minted and Lilly Pulitzer for making our holiday cards a success!

Service Sunday Opportunity (and discount code!!)
So I know it's Tuesday and definitely not Sunday, but I wanted to include a way for you all to give back if you are ordering your holiday cards from Minted. If you use the code FUNDRAISEWFSPA, you'll get 20% off your order (through 12/31/19) and Wesley Family Services will receive 15% of the proceeds. So it's a win-win for everyone. Wesley Family Services is a non-profit and its mission is 'To empower children, adults, and families by providing transformational care.'

From the Wesley Family Services website:
Wesley Family Services is a non-profit organization that serves more than 30,000 individuals and families in Western PA. Our caring, highly trained staff of over 1,100 people are committed to providing high-quality behavioral healthcare services and support programs to children, adults, and families over the course of their lifespan so that they are empowered to reach their full potential. Our programs in Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, Behavioral Health and Education are made possible by your generosity and the generosity of everyone in our community.

I am biased because I know a wonderful family who is also like a family to us and they are heavily involved in this amazing organization. It's an easy way for anyone all over the country to contribute without lifting a finger. You save money and Wesley Family Service also receives monetary help they need to continue doing what they do best!

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