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1 Dress, 4 Ways

Hey Ladies,

I got this fabulous Navy & White Striped Shift Dress a couple of weeks ago... And it deserves some major blog attention!  I've spent the last 2 weeks styling it in several different ways to show that it is definitely worth every 26 of the dollars it costs!  

Not only is it an INCREDIBLE price point to begin with, but it is also so versatile style-wise!  You really can't go wrong with a navy & white striped, classicly-cut dress!  A shift dress looks great on every body type, and the company this particular dress comes from has a very accurate "find your true size" survey so you can get the size that's perfect for you!  It suggested I size up one to a 6 and I'm definitely happy with the fit!!!  

Now, let me show you how I've worn it:

First, I wore it with a trench coat and leopard print booties.  The stripe and leopard patterns are a really fun combination!  Mixing patterns has been a tough trend for me, but I enjoyed wearing this combo!!  Second, I wore it with my favorite maroon sweater over top so that it looked like a top with a skirt!  With over-the-knee boots, this was a super fun outfit because the dress/sweater combo is something I've never done before!!  I really loved this look!!!  Next, I wore it by itself with my new favorite pop-of-color shoe.  It was such a SIMPLE outfit, but I got quite a few compliments while I was out shopping :)  Then, lastly, I wore it with a great utility vest!  The utility vest made it a bit more casual, but I loved the olive with the navy & white stripes!!!

So that's 1 dress, worn 4 ways!  I love a great staple piece that is so versatile!!  And worth every penny I paid for it!!!  Especially this one, because it can be worn throughout every season!!  The 3/4 length sleeves make it perfect for all year long!! You can find this fabulous navy & white striped shift dress HERE and the rest of the items seen above can be found in the menu below!

XOXO

- Rachel

Perfect for Fall

Hey Ladies,

I know I've said it before, and I know I'll say it a 13598613 more times before November, but I'm so ready for Fall!!  Plain. And. Simple!!  I'm sick of the hot.  Fall fashion is just FLAT. OUT. BETTER.  Its T-minus 9 days until all things pumpkin spice fill drink menus and the grocery store shelves.  I'm sick of the hot.  Boots are the most comfortable shoes ever!  The colors of the changing leaves are so beautiful.  And I'm so sick of the hot!!  

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This week I've started packing for our move...  The first thing I said to Blake was, "I'll start with our winter clothes, there's no way we'll need them in the next month..."  My train of thought after that was: "That makes me so sad," then, "I wish we were the type of people that packed away our Winter clothes in the Summer and our Summer clothes in the Winter," and then, I rationalized with myself about how that wouldn't work for us, specifically because of how many of our Summer clothes are utilized as layering pieces to our Fall and Winter wardrobes!!

That led me to visualize like every Winter outfit I could possibly wear with my new Summer pieces and THIS ONE was my favorite!!  I immediately knew I had to capture some photos and tell you why this look just WORKS!!

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The reasons I chose this tank as the featured item:

1) The pattern of the shirt isn't floral, so that's an automatic plus for season transitions!

2) Its lined on the inside, adding a little bit of thickness to the already double layered peplum!

3) It has a very structured silhouette, something that's characteristic of Winter styles, as opposed to the very loose and flowy Summer styles.

4) The color is neutral, allowing it to be easily paired with the darker colors associated with the colder months!

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Note: Even if this particular top isn't exactly your style, or is out of your price range, these are still applicable guidelines you can use when out shopping for yourself!

For Summer, you could wear this tank however you would like: casually with some nude flats, or jazzed up with a pop-of-color heel!  But for Fall/Winter, it will serve a very specific role: the bottom layer!! :)

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Here, I've paired it with one of my favorite sweaters!!  Honestly, any sweater that's fluffy, oversized, cozy, slouchy, comfy, etc. is my kind of sweater!!!  The "coziness" of this sweater adds a fairly casual feel to this outfit.  You might like the look of a slightly thinner sweater better, but you won't find any of those in my closet LOL!!  Then, I added the ripped jeans and booties to continue the casual theme.  

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Just pair the ensemble with your favorite Fall/Winter bag and you're golden!!  This look would even be great with a preppy cardigan or blazer for a more polished look!!  And the best part about this outfit is that this amazingly versatile top is on sale right now for $59.99 HERE!  

Notes to take shopping:

1) Look for Summer tops that are neutral or have patterns that aren't too season-specific!

2) Maybe try to find a something with a little more shape/structure to serve as a good under-layer!

3) Think about what sweaters/cardigans/blazers are in your Winter wardrobe while you plan to purchase Summer basics!

4) These tips will work for dresses and pants too, though I might would go with other colors for those - both navy and gray are good colors for both Summer and Fall/Winter.

I hope transitioning comes a little easier for you this year with the help of this one, simple outfit idea!  I also hope to have plenty more for you as the cooler months get closer and closer!!

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Have a wonderful rest of your week, and I'll see you back here on Saturday evening for my first makeup collaboration blog post!!!  Get excited to hear all about my experience with, and thoughts on LipSense!!

Love you all!!

- Rachel

So Ready for Fall

Hey Babes,

I don't know about y'all, but I'm about over all this hot weather, and the afternoon showers that come with it!  I've really been daydreaming about what this next season will bring for us... Both literally and figuratively.  Fall is my absolute most favorite season, and Blake and I are getting to enjoy it somewhere a little different this year!  If you're a subscriber, you've already gotten all the dirty details on this, and the rest of you will find out more and more with every blog post I'm sure!!  

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In this post in particular, I'm sharing some of the woes of property management and why this past week and weekend have been so difficult for us... Our first renter moved out of our rental property on Monday of last week... And we learned that she absolutely trashed the place!!  It took Blake and I over 22 hours total to repair all the damage and repaint every single surface in that house, and it took a cleaning lady another 10 hours to clean up all of her mess!!  After 3 days of working on that every evening/night after work, it was finally Thursday... The day we were leaving for Atlanta to check out a car Blake wanted to buy and to spend some time at the apparel market!  Then, once we returned home on Saturday, we immediately began helping my parents with their new flip house, worked all weekend, and then began the workweek again on Monday...  I'M. SO. TIRED!!  

But... Such is life!  Its the life of a property manager... Its a life we've asked for, and a life we still think we want...  It's just a bit of added stress right now, but thankfully it is temporary!!  But it did required a little retail therapy LOL!

Shopping for Fall makes ANYTHING better, I promise ;)  You can believe me because I've done plenty of it!!  This monochromatic look is the first of many Fall outfits that I want to share with you!! I especially wanted to introduce this fabulous top to you before you started your Fall shopping!! I think this short-sleeved, white eyelet-front, blush sweater-backed sweater would be a perfect Summer to Fall transition piece for your closet!!  I especially love it styled in this dressier, all neutrals outfit!!  But I also like it dressed down with denim shorts and ballerina flats. :)

The extra small fit me, but I bought the small instead.  I liked the way the sweater material on the arms fit a little looser with the small... So, just note that when picking out the size you want, the sweater fits a little boxy everywhere but the arms... Buy the size based on how you want it to fit your arms!  I'll provide the links to where you can find the items in my entire look below the next picture:

Outfit Details:

Pants - HERE ($98)

Top - HERE ($69.50)

Heels - HERE ($99)

Bag (similar, but one I've also owned) - HERE ($175)

And if you'd like to get yourself a Starbucks drink (or 2) on me, just head HERE and answer a few questions for me!! The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 13th via email*

XOXO

- Rachel

*By providing your email, you will be subscribing to this blog's post updates!

Welcome to My Home

So, I took some pictures of our home this week, and I thought it would be cool to share them with you all!!  This is a topic I could talk about for hours, so its a pretty lengthy post... Grab yourself a glass of wine, find a comfy seat on the couch, and get ready to read all about mine and Blake's adventures renovating houses, and my love for decorating them!!

Some of you may know that Blake and I are really into buying fixer-uppers, and "flipping" them!  Although, our current house wasn't quite the disaster you think of when you hear the term "fixer-upper," it still needed a little bit of a Demure upgrade ;)  Our first fixer-upper was an absolute GUT!!  We replaced EVERYTHING and made it AMAZING (if I do say so myself)!  Luckily, our current house wasn't that bad off to start with... but I still did my *thang*!!  As soon as I walked in, I immediately knew what I needed to change to make it not only more aesthetically pleasing, but to make it more functional as well!

I'm actually going to share both homes with you today! Even though I like our current house the most, I am still so stinking proud of what we did with the first one!!  It was a foreclosure that my parents bought for $35K and then put $20K more into it to fix it up... All while planning and paying for our wedding, OMG!!  And even though we did still purchase it back from them a few months later, it was still THE BEST gift Blake and I have ever received!!  They gifted us with a home that had $25K in equity the moment we stepped foot in it after we returned from our honeymoon!!!  What an amazing blessing it was to have that in our names at 22 years old!!!  Check it out below:

First House:

So now Blake and I see the value in taking a neglected house, putting in a little effort, and making it into a home that someone could love!!  In fact, we love that home so much that even when we outgrew it and wanted to move on, we couldn't let it go!!  We kept it as a rental after we bought our new house!  

Our current house doesn't have NEARLY the same story... We actually paid more than list price for it because we ended up getting into a little bit of a bidding war with three other couples... And then we still proceeded to put $10K into it to update it a bit!  Most investors would have considered that unwise, but for us, it was ok.  We live in each of our properties before they become investment properties, and also we don't plan to sell it for a profit in the future... When we move on, we will keep this house as a rental too!  

Checkout what we've done so far:

Current House:

First, we scraped all of the popcorn off of the ceilings!  IT WAS AWFUL!!!  I don't think Blake will ever purchase another home with popcorn ceilings again!!  But the final result is so refreshing!!!

Next, we had that VERY LARGE yellow wall, separating the formal living room from the den, removed.  During the process, we also had the encased opening forming a dinning room removed as well.  The main purpose for all of that was to create ONE LARGE living space!!  Coming from a 900 sq/ft house, no amount of extra space would have been enough... So we created as large of a space as possible - open floor plan living is the millennial's dream, right!? 

Some mid-reno pictures to help explain (all of these pictures were taken just inside the front door, and are in cronological orger):

Third, we completely renovated the 1970's guest bathroom!  Although the white tile is SO much better than the pink or green you usually find in homes build right around or before this time, they still had to go!!  We removed the tiles, replaced them with sheetrock, painted, and replaced the vanity, toilet, mirror, and light fixtures!!  

This part was such a satisfying transformation for me!!  I'm not sure why, but this was my favorite part for the renovation!!!  

That mostly completed our projects as far as changing the physical structure of the house... I mean, we had plans to renovate the master bathroom, but we got a $9K quote for that one :(  So, needless-to-say, that "little" project had to wait!!!  As we were finishing up the bathroom, our furniture started to arrive... And that's when the work ended and the fun began... Getting to decorate a newly remodeled home is that absolute BEST part!!!

Coming from a 900 sq/ft house that was completely decked out with IKEA furniture, I was absolutely ignorant of the fact that when you order NICE furniture, it usually takes about 8-10 weeks to be delivered... Ouch... So we were without furniture for the entirety of the construction process (insert about 12 crying emojis here)!  It ended up being a good thing in retrospect, because the couch I wanted wouldn't even have fit in the house with the wall still up, but it was hard for sure!!!  

So, here's what I've done with the place so far:

This gallery wall was the very first thing I did!!  I hung those pictures just a couple hours after that wall had been painted (and just a couple hours before we hosted small group at our house)...  We had nothing else in the house other than our dining room rug, and somehow I convinced myself that adding some pictures to the wall would make it all better LOL!!!!

Please excuse the missing piece in the gallery... It is an "F" that happens to be painted the exact same color as the wall, so I took it down to paint it gray, but never ended up doing it because just a few days later we started rehabbing a piece of furniture (which I will talk about later).  So, the gap will remain... And I'm taking bets on how long :)  P.S. The walls in the majority of the house are painted "Alabaster" by Sherwin Williams (its in the white family, but has gold added to it in its recipe, so its not stark white)!

That dining room table was the first piece of furniture to be delivered... It was made by a friend locally!  Its a farmhouse style table that I stained pretty dark to match the chairs I was dying to have!!  They are from Ashley Furniture... And although its hard to tell from this picture, the grommets are what make them so fantastic!!  You can find the standard chairs HERE and the captain's chairs HERE.

This was the "lookbook" I sent to friends to help me decide what pieces I should get... They were too expensive to change my mind later down the road!!

This was the "lookbook" I sent to friends to help me decide what pieces I should get... They were too expensive to change my mind later down the road!!

The next thing to be delivered was our couch!!  We only had a love-seat sized couch at the "little house," so I went a little overboard with the whole sectional thing to give us more space to lounge around... It's 11' x 9' and Blake and I still ONLY USE ONE CUSHION on that whole thing... What a waste LOL!  But I'm still so in love with it!!  Its from Westelm - A.K.A the absolute best place on the face of the plant!!  And its actually still available!!  You can check it out HERE!

We got 2 of those cute mid-mod accent chairs from Target, actually!  And they, too, are still available!!  You can find them HERE!!  There is some assembly required, but coming from someone who has put together a ton of furniture from IKEA, World Market, and Target... Target furniture is the easiest to put together and feels/looks the nicest once it is!!

That side table is from Pottery Barn, but I ended up not getting it once the living room finally came together...  I loved it, and still do, but its a little more dressy than I ended up styling the house.

Our bedroom furniture was delivered next... The bed and dresser are both from Pottery Barn!  I stalked these pieces for weeks because they were so expensive!!  From the tiny corner of the dresser you can see in this picture, it is completely mirrored, and was originally $999 because of it!  I worked with a fantastic interior designer at the South Park Mall location who kept me updated on sales, and I was able to get both pieces 25% off at their Friends & Family event thanks to her!!  This bed is called the "Big Daddy's Antiques Reclaimed Wood" bed LOL!!!!  Its a platform bed so we did 't have to get a box spring, which I liked!!  And I'm still just so in love with it now as I was the day I bought it!!!  You can find it HERE, and the dresser HERE!  Both are still full price, even after a year, so definitely wait until August/September for their Friends & Family event to come back around if you're interested in them!!!

We added our bedside tables to the mix 6 months later!  They are from Target, but are not longer available...  Blake made our curtain rods from metal pipe, our curtains are from Bed Bath & Beyond HERE (I got them a little long so they pool on the floor a little), and so is my comforter!  My exact one is sold out in all sizes except Twin, but Kate Spade has a lot of other super cute choices HERE!

This is our guest room!  It is painted my favorite light gray color by Sherwin Williams - Stone Isle!!  As you can see from the photos from our first house, this isn't the first time I've used this color, and it won't be the last - it truly is my favorite!!  

The guest bed is from Crate & Barrel!  I searched long and hard for the PERFECT wrought iron bed... And believe it or not, this one was the best looking AND THE CHEAPEST!!  Those two qualities rarely go hand-in-hand, so I am SO PROUD of this find!!  And OMG its still available too!!!  You can find this beauty HERE!!  This bed also has my favorite mattress on it!  If you like a really firm memory foam mattress, crazily enough, you have to get THIS ONE from IKEA!  This is the second time I've purchased this mattress from them and I would still buy another one!!  The nightstand that you can't see in this pic, is from World Market, but you should check it out HERE - its real marble people!!  The trunk at the foot of the bed is my favorite piece in this room - its Blake's grandmother's traveling trunk from when she was young... Such a gorgeous antique piece that I'm so grateful Blake's mom let me have!!!

The last "big furniture" item we've added to our decor is this awesome dinning room buffet that we're really using as a bar LOL!!  This is the piece that we rehabbed just recently... We found it at a local thrift store, and I think it might have been the bottom or top half of one of those larger-than-life china cabinets that the generation before me liked to have... But we only bought the one half, removed the fancy molding, painted it with chalk paint, distressed it, changed the cabinet pulls, and added a piece of granite to the top!!  If ANYONE (even one person) would like to know the finer details of how we did it, just comment below and I will do a full tutorial!

Just a few of my other random favorite house details:

I bought this picture to go on our mantle over a year before we even had a mantle... Its my all time favorite picture of Blake and I!!  A wedding picture that was actually taken for our 2 year wedding anniversary!

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This little corner of the house... Its my favorite little nook... But just to look at though, I mean, I've never actually used it LOL!  That lamp came from the "little house" and it was the piece that this house's decor was designed around... A little rustic, a little industrial - my favorite combo...  The tree came from my work, I mentioned the chair before, and that accent table is from World Market - HERE - and we also got the coffee table and sofa table (used as our entertainment center) to match!

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And then this towel rack is another item I purchased before even moving into this house because I knew I wanted it so badly... So the rest of the decor in this bathroom was purchased to complement this piece!!  It is handmade with tons of love by a Christian couple who love God so much...  I have enjoyed having their piece in my home and think of them often when I see it!!  And I will definitely purchase from them again!!!  Please check them out HERE

This is the 3rd and last color in our house - its called "Mark Twain."  It is not a Sherwin Williams color, so we had them color match it... But if you would like me to find out the original manufacturer, I totally will, just let me know!!  

So, I guess that's all for now... I don't know what else y'all are interested in seeing or knowing... But if I didn't cover something that you'd like to know, please just let me know in a comment below and I can definitely do a follow up post!!  I really enjoy fixing up a house - painting, and decorating it!!  Seeing the transformation just brings me such joy!!  This house is much bigger than the first, so the work is taking a lot longer this time around... So many of our walls are still bare (paint but no artwork), so even a few months from now I would have so much more to show you!!  I'm happy with what we've accomplished so far, but making a house a home is never really finished is it!?  I hope you like what you've seen (although I know the photography didn't do it much justice... LOL Blake is the better photographer)!

Y'all have a great rest of your weekend!!

XOXO - Rachel

Spring Style

Y'all are going to start to think that I like Loft more than I do J Crew lately...  While that may not necessarily be true, I AM very much loving Loft lately!!!  Their quality is good, and their prices are really good!!  

I've been wanting a dress with a pattern for a while and I've been searching high and low!!  Ok, not just ANY pattern... Not a stripe or polka dot because those are my safety zone... I wanted something more "fun" for my Style Collective meet-up in Charleston today!!  Something different than I had seen anywhere else... And I landed on this one:

Blake was a little skeptical at first, because the pattern is somewhat loud... But he grew to love it once he saw it on me (like he does most things... let's be honest) LOL!!  And once I snagged these AMAZING shoes from Target, the whole outfit came together and I couldn't wait to wear it to meet all my South Carolina Style Collective Sisters today!!  I promise, you will definitely be seeing pictures from that gathering!!  I really can't even explain how exciting it is to get to meet a whole bunch of blogger babes in person!!!  I know all of their faces from the social media world, but to get to hug their necks and hear their voices will be so cool!!!

Anyway LOL!!  You can find this gorgeous dress HERE ($69.50) and these equally amazing shoes HERE (for just $29.99!!!).  Now, about the shoes, though... I do need to say that if you aren't used to walking in heels, then these babies are not for you... they are much higher in person than I had expected when I ordered them online...  Though they are returnable in store if you want to give them a try and they end up not working out :)  They are almost 4 inches:

And look at that cute little flare hem  **Heart Eyes**  

I loved this cute Spring outfit enough to go and meet a bunch of fashionista strangers in it, so that must speak pretty highly of the combo!!  Y'all have a great rest of your weekend, and you'll hear from me on Wednesday!!  I'm gonna be sharing a little bit of awesomeness I've found shopping secondhand recently!!

XOXO

Rachel