A Thrift Challenge

To thrift, or not to thrift, that’s NOT the question. To thrift it is! Growing up I learned to manage finances at a young age. Although, in more recent years, it’s been frowned upon to pay your children for grades and chores, I believe this is how I learned the value of a dollar. I was able to manage a budget, save up for bigger items, and forecast for the future. Let’s just say, I learned to make a dollar holler. I could afford to shop at many places but I liked the thrill of bargain shopping and finding unique treasures at the thrift stores. My whole style aesthetic to this day is a mélange of high and low end items including some that are from the thrift store.

This week I teamed up with Anjelica from Crafty Thrifter for the ultimate thrifting challenge. Blogger vs. Blogger! We agreed to each style 2 outfits using a classic white v neck t-shirt and the rest of the items had to be thrifted. I was really excited to work on this project because I love to hunt for cool things. And to find them at crazy low prices makes it even more of an adventure. Both of the outfits I styled were less than $50 total (what a STEAL of a deal)!

My first outfit was a work inspired look. The black Zara skirt was the first item I found and I used that as the base for my outfit. Since the t-shirt and skirt were such classic pieces, I decided to style the rest of the ensemble in a charming way. I thought I would do a “play on style” using a bow tie as a choker because they are really trendy this season. The suspenders and loafers also added to the menswear theme. To finish the look, I added the red oversized heart bag. If you know me, you know my obsession with hearts (you can see other heart looks here and here)!

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My second outfit was funkier and more casual. I found the cigar box handbag first and thought this would be the focal point for my outfit. Talk about a treasure, I also found Stuart Weitzman red snakeskin boots for $12.99 that were a must have! I decided to be a bit daring and add a pattern jean in a subtle color. This look was finished off with the same classic red glasses. Even though this outfit was a combination of patterns and prints the over appearance was great.

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I think thrifting can be really enjoyable but it does take time to find what you are looking for. As a mom, it’s not always the most practical way to shop when I can buy online in 5 minutes. But I do like to thrift every so often and especially this time of year. Halloween is just around the corner and the thrift shop can help you find your costume on the cheap. Hope you enjoyed our blogger thrifting challenge and you challenge yourself to create a thrifted masterpiece. Stay tuned to Crafty Thrifty for her challenge update later this week.

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A Zoo-rific Party + Giveaway!

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My little one is three now! She is at such a fun age and I love that new things are so fascinating. This year when we were deciding on a theme/location for her birthday she wanted to have it at the Zoo, her favorite place to visit. She has such an incredible love for animals so this was the perfect place to celebrate.

When you have a party at a venue the set up time is usually around 15 mins, which for me, is never enough time! I love to decorate and have to put a unique touch on everything. I was still able to add some flair and pizazz even though timing was minimal. Here are some of my Zoo party ideas that made our party a success.

THE ACTIVITIES:

1. We had a face painter
This was an easy addition with minimal effort because they set up for themselves.

2. Make your own sand art station
I set up a sand art station with all materials. This was easy to do beforehand and I used square plastic containers to avoid making a mess.

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3. A tattoo station
I set up a tattoo station with temporary tattoos, a water bottle, and paper towels.

THE FOOD:

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1. Animal themed snack bar
I created a snack bar with goldfish, iced animal cookies, animal crackers, and cheerios. This was an easy pack up snack for my guests that were staying the day at the zoo.

2. Breakfast
Our party was early in the morning so we set up fruit, breakfast tacos (homemade by my mom-yum!) and donuts for quick grab and go breakfast.

3. Served cupcakes
This saved time with cake cutting and they were easy to distribute.

PARTY BAGS:

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I am not a huge fan of tons of sugar so I decided to keep the treat bags candy free. Here are the items I included.
1. Finger puppets
2. Stamper Markers
3. Grow Capsules Safari Animals
4. Animal Print Sunglasses
5. Stickers
6. Animal Activity Book

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:


1. Labels, Signs, and Stickers
I used canva.com to create a custom label for the party theme.

2. Centerpieces
What child doesn’t have a million stuffed animals? I used three stuffed animals tied with fishing line as the centerpieces. This was a way to incorporate something we already had to decorate the tables.

GIVEAWAY:

I have teamed up with the Houston Zoo to offer a 4 pack of tickets to one of my readers. Please enter below:

Houston Zoo 4 Pack Ticket Giveaway

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[Disclosure: This post was sponsored and done in collaboration with the Houston Zoo. As always opinions are my own.]

Why Every Girl Should Have a Novelty Bag

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It’s Fashion Week in NYC right now and I love seeing all of the street fashion and styling. Although some of the world is experiencing fall temperatures right now, we are still blazing in the 90’s! I am holding on to summer with this straw novelty bag. I love novelty bags and think they create a new look for an otherwise BORING outfit.

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10 reasons WHY EVERY GIRL SHOULD HAVE A NOVELTY BAG:

1. They add personality to your outfit
2. They can take a plain outfit to the next level.
3. It’s an easy and quick way to change an outfit.
4. You can personalize your outfit for the occasion.
5. It’s something different and unusual.
6. They are instant photo props.
7. It’s a conversation starter.
8. They take up minimal room in your closet.
9. They fit great in a suitcase.
10. Not all of them will break the bank!

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As you can see a plain white and black ensemble can have a complete makeover with just adding a novelty bag. This bag is so simple yet adds some flair and a sprinkle of happiness to this outfit. This is one of my favorites for traveling because it is so flat and you can’t beat the price of under $20.

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I hope this post will inspire you to at least purchase one novelty bag if you don’t own one already. I have added some of my favorites for this season below. The possibilities are truly endless and you will be surprised what a change a simple bag can make!

Shop my bag here:

Some of my favorites of this season:

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you shop from my blog, I may be compensated for clicks or purchases that you make.]

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Alphabet Shapes for Pasta – Dress Up Your Spaghetti!


Spaghetti is one of our favorite meals. It’s easy, quick for weeknights, and leftovers always taste just as great. As a mom, I have limited time to make things from scratch these days, and let’s be honest, I don’t really want to. When I heard about the new Ragu Homestyle Sauce that was created to taste homemade I was super excited to try it out.

The new Ragu Homestyle Sauce is the thickest sauce they have, it hugs every noodle, has boldest flavor yet because they peel, chop and simmer our ingredients and use a special blend of herbs (basil, fennel, oregano and black pepper) to layer and build the flavor. They have created a true Homestyle taste.

Homestyle for my family means sharing meals and enjoying company. We try to encourage meals together at least a couple times a week. For my recipe, I decided to create a kid-friendly recipe perfect for a little education at the dinner table. And for those toddler moms out there, something that will keep your children entertained at the table longer than five minutes.

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The final product:

These noodle shapes are great for children and make a fun, educational, and entertaining dinner. They can be a unique dinner party component used as a name plate or even as a label for a dish. For more recipes and to see the new flavors of the Ragu Homestyle Sauce click here.

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Pink Lace Dress & the “Other” Benefits to Networking

Networking is an essential part to every woman’s life. Whether you are a student, mom, or career woman it’s important to start building a network. You network is the key to making your life less stressful and opening doors to opportunity. Yes, networking can create opportunities for financial gain but there are many other ways networking can be beneficial.

The “Other” Benefits to Networking:

1. You make new friends
2. You have a tribe of people that share the same interests
3. You have a resource of knowledge from people doing similar things
4. You can ask for advice on similar situations
5. You have your own cheerleaders that encourage you to keep climbing

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[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you shop from my blog, I may be compensated for clicks or purchases that you make.]

This past weekend I spent some time networking with blogger babes at a pink themed Blogiversary Brunch. I wore a pink lace dress from the Eva Mendes collection at New York &Co. I paired it with my pearl tassel earrings (also seen here) and a Kate Spade book clutch. The look was finished off with a simple nude heel to elongate my legs. I had a great time taking so many photos and hearing stories on what everyone is working on.

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I hope this post encourages you to network just a little more. It can do wonders for your life and create lasting friendships, opportunities, and tools for your success/sanity (that’s for the moms out there). I want to challenge you all to meet one new person this week and tell me how it goes. I would love to hear an inspiring networking story.

To check out my advice on What to Wear to a Networking Lunch here.

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3 Reasons Every Girl MOM Needs a Tutu!

[Disclaimer: This blog has been compensated by The Hair Bow Company. All opinions are fabulously my own.]

We are celebrating a lot more than back to school this month. You may have read in my previous post (here) my little one turned three, I made it to 1k on Instagram (which was huge for me), my blog was fully transferred – technical nightmare but I survived, and I officially went down to part-time to focus more on the blog- which is already paying off in strides. One happy momma here!

I partnered with the Hair Bow Company for this post to celebrate in style. My daughter is such a girly girl and her face lights up every time we match. She has such a magical mind right now and I want to feed her imagination as much as possible. There are a million and one articles on why every GIRL needs a tutu and here is why I think every girl MOM needs a tutu.

1. It’s a great distraction from the tablet
It seems children have become glued to her devices and the TV. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes this is ok in moderation but I like to find activities that keep my daughter a little more active and/or provide more education than some of those weird online videos. Tutus are great to play dress up and give you quality time together.

2. They make great photo props
It’s that time of year where we are prepping for the holiday season and what better way than to capture it with photos. These tutus are so cute and feminine. They add the perfect amount of drama to a holiday or celebration photo.

3. They are super versatile
Even if you’re not or have never been a girly girl, tutus can be worn for many occasions. They have become a staple wardrobe piece for the fashionistas thanks to Carrie Bradshaw. But can also be casual enough for a Fun Run. The options are endless.

The Hair Bow Company is local to the Houston area and offers many different styles and colors of tutus starting at only $3.85. You really can’t beat that price. If you visit their site, you will not be disappointed with the variety and selection of adorable pieces. If you have a Princess, know one, or know a Mommy that needs a tutu you know where to go!

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IKSH: White Hot Fashion Event

[This is a repost- the other post was lost in the transfer of my blog]

I am back on the blog this week after 2 weeks of migrating to a new host-yay. OMG I am not technical (but you guys knew that already). Still having issues with Safari but hope to have those resolved soon! I was super excited about sharing my event recap but had to wait until this was completed and it finally is! I had the awesome opportunity to style a Fashion Show for the IKSH White Hot Fashion Event at the end of last month.

IKSH (I Know Somebody Houston) is a service organization of women, for women; providing education, solutions, and opportunities for professional & personal growth. I was over the moon when I was asked to do the style piece for the event. Not only do I love Fashion, but I am a career woman and have always been an advocate for networking and helping women realize their true potential.

Look for Work

Look for Work

Look for Play!

Look for Play!

Look for Work

Look for Work

Look for Vacay!

Look for Vacay!

I decided to style “real” women for my runway because I wanted to show things that would inspire average sized women. I selected 7 different white garments from Thinking Girls Boutique and Tutu Cute to make a total of 18 different looks. The idea was to style the same garments for work and for play. I really enjoyed accessorizing and presenting different ensembles for career, vacation, on-the-go, and play.

The event continued with Esbee Jewelry Consultant Suzanne Joffrion, esbe Designs, Stylist ID #246131, Celebrity Makeup Expert for Lamik, Kim Roxie and Alicia Waiters, a Bra Fitting Expert. Overall it was such a fun-filled fashion night of networking. If you are looking to join a group of Girlbosses in Houston, please visit the IKSH and come to their next event at the end of this month. Hope to see y’all there!

♥Val♥

Some of these photos were courtesy of IKSH and Positively Beautiful Life!

My Little One is 3! + Tender Nest Photography

My little one turned three this month and I’m just not sure I want her to grow anymore. She is at an age where she is understanding everything, having conversations and it’s just too much. My baby is not a baby anymore. I am going to be so cliché when I say they grow up way too fast, IT’S SO TRUE! She is becoming so independent and curious which is a dangerous combination.

I wanted to write her a letter on her birthday so we could remember this year and capture the sweet moments of her life.

To My Alybear,

Happy Birthday my sweet Princess! I hope you keep the same excitement and curiosity for life that you have now. I pray this world makes some significant changes and that you see everyone the same. You light up our lives and make life more fascinating. I love watching you discover things for the first time, it fills my heart. You have such a personality and you are just so loving. You love mommy to the moon and back and daddy to the sun and back. Some days you are so strong willed and I keep telling myself that is a good thing (I have no idea where you get that from- lol).

Fun things we did this year: you swam with the dolphins in Cancun, we had the 1st Q family reunion, you went baby bungee jumping, went to Peppa Pig Live with KariBaby, you finally enjoyed fireworks for the first time and beg to see them all the time, you rode a big slide by yourself for the first time at Schlitterbaun, and you got your first car.

You love: animals, Hello Kitty, Shopkins, jewelry, dancing, the beach, karaoke (only Let It Go from Frozen), dressing like mommy, and your Ipad.

You dislike: SLEEPING, going to school, and being inside.

Your dad and I could not imagine life without you and feel so blessed to have you in our lives.
Love,
Mom

I was fortunate to work with Anel from Tender Nest Portraits to capture these photos earlier this year. Anel is a mom of 3 and has one on the way (brave lady)! She was so easy to work with and because she is a mom, she was great with my daughter. We had so many good photos to choose from and that’s surprising with a toddler! She helped get her involved in the shoot to capture these moments. These photos are stunning and I am so happy she was able to stop time for a brief moment. If you are looking for a great children/newborn photographer check out her site here.

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A fun look with my heart on my sleeve!

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This week marks a pivotal moment in my blogging career so I am kissing this week goodbye with a smile! I put another Fashion Show on the books but this time, it was associated with my blog which was a major win for me and so much fun to do. I really love the art of fashion and being able to share that with others just warms my heart.

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This look captures my mood perfectly today which is cheerful and fabulous. I just want to encourage all of you reading this to keep following your dreams! I am in my mid-thirties and still chasing my dreams. It is never too late to keep the train going, as long as it’s headed in the right direction. All things do happen for a reason and we don’t always know why, but they get us closer to where we need to be. I am blessed for all the experiences in my life, some lessons I learned the hard way and this has shaped me into the person I am today. Some of these things help you become better prepared for your future, you just don’t realize it at the time.

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Shirt / Skirt / Handbag (similar) / Shoes / Watch / Glasses

I am really digging the off-the-shoulder trend for summer as you can see in my other post here . And this one has a bow which I love, it’s the right mix of femininity and sophistication. I added some color with red heels and matching firetruck red novelty heart bag. I love feminine accessories and a novelty bag adds a touch of charm to any outfit.

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Hope you guys had a fabulous week too. I start a new schedule for work next week which really gives me more time to dedicate to my blog. I hope you see my heart is in it, just like this bag! I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to blogging and I don’t mind being vulnerable, it helps me grow! Love you all and hope you are having a great weekend!

♥Val♥

This shoot was possible because of:

Photographer: http://www.stacyandersonphotography.com
Cotton Candy: http://www.toastfromthehost.com
Balloons: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TutusBowtiesEvents
Signs: http://www.myurbaninvites.com

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you shop from my blog, I may be compensated for clicks or purchases that you make.]

 

Casual Friday + GlassesShop.com

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It’s casual Friday, and the search is on for new and exciting ways to wear denim. I recently purchased a pair of overalls and thought I would change up my usual denim with something a little more fun. Overalls have been quite the fashion lately and I wasn’t sure I could pull them off without looking like I was twelve. Well, I took a leap of faith, and when in doubt, I added heels.

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I paired this look with some colorful sunglasses from GlassesShop. They took a classic tortoise pattern, mixed it up with teal and purple for a unique design. These glasses are as versatile as a classic tortoise pattern but really catch the light and create a distinctive look. GlassesShop.com has a large variety of sunglasses and prescription glasses to choose from, for a limited time, you can get your first pair for free. Check out their stylish collection here.

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Overalls have become as popular as jumpsuits this season and can really change up your casual Friday look. I love trying new things and exploring ways to change up work wear for the modern woman. Hope you all enjoy this look and check out GlassesShop for some cool new shades. Have a fabulous weekend lovies!

♥Val♥

This post was sponsored by GlassesShop, and I received these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.