Holiday party season is in full swing... so NOW is the time to make sure that your wardrobe will sparkle this season! Whether it's the soire of the season, a friendly evening gathering, a night around the fire with loved ones opening presents, a cookie exchange with bff's or your after hours company party. A new little piece of sparkle in your life feels so special this time of year. If your budget is limited, buying a new pair of earrings and some sparkly nail polish or new eye shadow is sure to brighten your holiday events. Or if you are looking for a little more try a daring gold dress or sequin skirt. Whatever your social calendar or budget allows... have a little fun with this special time of year! (and bonus! everything featured here is under $100... except that knockout skirt! But here is an alternate skirt under $100!)
Layers and scarves and scarves and layers. I already sound like a broken record and it's only the first week in December. But onward and upward we go... this is the new MO for now. Who's with me?
Since we have to get used to all these layers for now I am trying to have fun with new combinations that I haven't tried before. And if you even believe it there are some days I am still trying to avoid wearing a winter coat - like with this outfit below. I often get comments from gals that live further south than me in here in Michigan saying "I wish you had outfits that I could relate to during warm winters". I totally get that (and am jealous of your warm winters), but the facts are that I live in Michigan. It's cold here. I have to dress for it properly. But the funny thing is I also get emails from gals that live in Michigan or other cold climates that say "how can you wear only that in this weather, aren't you freezing?" like I'm not dressing warm enough either at times. A blogger can't win. But I will say I am much more likely to keep the flats on until the snow flies (and sometimes after) or do a few extra layers to avoid a winter coat if I want the outfit to look a certain way. I am a quirky slave to fashion ladies. I admit it.
So time for the truth... how is your holiday shopping coming along? I felt like I was on top of it until I checked my list and realized I still have some work to do! The shopping season is so short this year with only a little over three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that it's never too soon to start checking friends and loved ones off your list!
Often times when I sit down to actually make a list I get overwhelmed at the sheer number of people to buy for... but gifts don't have to be expensive to be meaningful or beautiful. So today I rounded up great gifts under $25 that would make great stocking stuffers or gifts for any lady on your list. And maybe a few for yourself as well... hey it's the holidays, you've got to treat yourself sometimes! And at these prices there is no reason to resist...
With cold snap after cold snap here in the midwest it's time to make a list and check it twice... and not your holiday shopping list! It's time to make sure you have all the winter essentials on hand as we go into this busy holiday season and the long winter that follows it... so I thought I would make a little cheat sheet for you.
Here I compiled a quick list of ten must haves this season... it's time for layering and sweaters and everything cozy and chic! Plus, check the links below for the pieces shown AND corresponding budget buys if you are looking to add these items to your closet but want to save while doing it! Now tell me, do you have what you will be needing this season to stay warm and stylish?
1. A faux fur scarf (shown or budget buy) adds style and warmth to any look... and it's perfect for dressing up a standard sweater this season!
2. Layering pieces like chambray (shown or budget buy) are an absolute must this time of year! Layer this under a sweater or sweatshirt or put this top over a long sleeve tee.
3. A pretty (and warm!) coat (shown or budget buy) or three will be the perfect finishing touch to any winter look. I personally love a camel colored coat - it adds instant sophistication to any look and is timeless.
4. It goes without saying that jeans are a winter staple, skinny jeans (shown or budget buy) especially for tucking into your boots. Take a quick inventory and make sure you have a few great pairs on hand for the season!
5. Sweaters, sweaters and more sweaters! Bundle up with gorgeous sweaters this season to stay cozy and stylish. I am on the hunt for a burgundy sweater (shown or budget buy) like this one, isn't it gorgeous?
6. A little - or a lot - of bling goes a long way to adding sparkle and jazz to any look this time of year. I love a good necklace (shown or budget buy) or earring (shown or budget buy) to do just that job!
7. Plaid (shown or budget buy) is in for a few months so take advantage of it! I like to go a little overboard with plaid this time of year... but heck, it's the season to, right?
8. Knee high boots (shown or budget buy) are an absolute necessity this time of year. They can be an investment (read: drain on the wallet) but they are totally worth it to keep you warm all season. Plus when you invest in these babies you can pull them out again in seasons to come.
9. Black pants (shown or budget buy) are my go-to lately when dressing up a look - these velvet babies are swweeeet! I love the instant classic appeal they give any look and they are especially fun to wear with sweaters.
10. For simple and casual looks a simple pair of ankle boots (shown or budget buy) keep you warm and let your calves breath a bit. Switch between ankle and tall boots all season - that's what I do!
It's that time of the year where a scarf is pretty much mandatory wear from here on out... I don't know about you, but I'm having a rough time facing the reality of December and that Thanksgiving break is over. To do lists and holiday prep will keep us all insanely busy over the next couple of weeks. No?
For that I love to pop a scarf on keep me warm through all the madness. A big fluffy scarf is like a big warm hug in the form of an outfit. And who doesn't want to wear a hug all day?
Being gone Thanksgiving week was so weird in that I left and it was fall and when I arrived home it was instantly winter. I was really excited to pull out a sweater and plaid scarf to get some holiday errands checked off my list this past weekend. How about you? Did you get some fun Christmas "chores" done... we got our decorations up (a few pictures are on Instagram, user: JillGG) and I nursed a cold. That sounds about right for this time of year!
I just realized that this outfit is basically a repeat of THIS one for winter... just shows how versatile a black sweater and jeans can be!
I'm back today with some more photos of my home here on the blog! As I mentioned earlier (see my office tour here), when we remodeled our main floor part of the changes included switching up the floor plan a bit. This entire room used to be considered just the living room but with the room being so long and narrow it was hard to fully take advantage of the space. We had previously had a very small eating area off of the kitchen but it could only provide room enough for a small round table to seat four. Not exactly enough room for a family or any guests for that matter. So we split the long and narrow living room into two areas: a living area AND a nice big dining area.
As you can see below the space splits in half with the fireplace and the dining area is to the right while the living area is to the left. This area used to have carpet and the new wood floors make this open plan an obvious set up and easy to pull off (plus, I wouldn't have wanted carpet in the dining room, it just wouldn't have worked before).
The sofa is a KIVIK from IKEA and previously was split into a love seat and a chaise, but for this floor plan we put them together along the wall. (that is the awesome thing about the KIVIK, it can be added on to or taken apart like legos!). No one can ever believe that we have a white sofa, but I absolutely love it. Yes, the kids (and me!) get it dirty, but it wipes clean easily or the covers can go in the wash. And I have to admit that I am guilty of buying new white covers from time to time too (they are super cheap!). My husband is always bugging me to get darker covers from IKEA but I just don't think it would work in this room. (the throw pillows are Home Goods, the shearling throw is IKEA and the plaid blanket is from Old Navy, the coffee table is a craigslist find).
Another change we made to the living area was to put the tv above the fireplace. We had an electrician put a cable/power outlet above the fireplace and then I did a few magic tricks to get the cords to disappear! The power strip is plugged in and placed on top of the mounting bracket behind the tv and the cable and apple tv boxes are stuck with 3M strips to the wall just behind the tv so that the remotes still work, but so you can't see them. Brilliant! The mantle is simply an IKEA Lack shelf.
Here the bar cart & pillows are from Target, the animal head is from Home Goods, the chairs are IKEA and again this coffee table (one of my favorite pieces) is a craigslist find. I do EVERYTHING at home on a budget knowing that my family will be "living" in the space and that is what my budget allows.
I was like a kid in a candy store when I realized we could get a BIG table for the living room area. This table is from World Market (watch the sales, I think I got this one for only $400). I love that it can seat six or more because I really love to entertain. So far this table has stood up to the kids' use and spills etc. It's one of my favorite pieces!
The chairs are overstock.com, the light is West Elm, the rug is IKEA. The framed feathers always get a lot of comments. My kids found them at the park a few summers ago with their sitter, I instantly wanted to frame them! They are so huge and cool looking. I later found out they are wild turkey feathers, which we have a lot of in this area. So they aren't exactly rare, but they sure are cool! Plus, they are basically free art!
The chest below is an antique store purchase, the wooden bowl is from Home Goods, the chalkboard is a curbside find - I found the frame and DIY'd the chalkboard and the racoon head I found on clearance at Anthropologie awhile back.
Really the only NEW things we bought for this space was the light fixture, the table, a few more chairs (I already had four at my old table) and the bar cart. It's amazing what a little white paint and new floors can do to dramatically change the look and feel of my home. It made all the furniture I already owned look and feel new!
At the end of each month this year I have paused to take a look at my spending as it's related to my closet. Each month my target budget is $300. For some this may sound like a lot and for others it may not... for me personally this is my monthly goal. It works for my budget and lifestyle and doesn't break the bank. Shopping budgets are a personal thing, but I share mine here to show how I stretch my budget and work to create a well curated and fully stocked closet.
For November I had a lot of fun shopping for winter clothing... it's fun to start to stock up on sweaters and layers suitable for the colder temps. Shopping is always fun... but this month I seemed to have a lot of fun with it. I'm hoping that the decisions I make for clothes now continue to be a joy to me as the winter goes on. Because while shopping for winter clothes can be fun, wearing them all season can get a little ho-hum. Hopefully I can avoid that this year!
Joe Fresh/JCP, Polka Dot Oxford, $24 with 40% off was $13.99 (not shown, no longer avail online)
J.Crew Factory, Plaid Shirt, $59.50 with 40% off + 20% off was $30.80 (not shown, no longer avail online)
J.Crew, White Painter Tee, $39.50 marked down + 40% off was $11.99 (not shown, no longer avail online)
Total Spent: $475.82 (saved: $278.63)
Thoughts on the budget: I knew I spent over budget (eek!) and for that I am not proud, but I really love all the pieces that I found. In general I snagged some super great deals that would have been very hard to resist and also splurged on the Hunter boots. So c'est la vie on going over budget. I do sense that perhaps I will need to reign it in for December and maybe/you never know/try to call it a wrap for 2013 purchases. We shall see. That being said, this time of year the deals are SO SO hard to resist. (who's with me?)
Thoughts on the pieces: I wish I could have shown the polka dot top, white top and plaid top I bought. They will however show up here on the blog soon, I'm sure! All the pieces together really show the vibe I am going for this winter: simple, classic and that they mix and match easily. A few of these pieces are going to be staples for my holiday wear/parties this coming month like the velvet pants and the plaid top.
Only ONE more month in 2013! If you want to see all the Damage posts for the past year... click here!
The sales are just ROLLING in and thank goodness for the good 'ole internet that we can shop them from literally anywhere... headed to grandma's - then shop mobile from the car. Getting ready to hit the nightlife tonight - it's the busiest night for it - then shop on your ipad while your nails dry! Or knocking off work early on this holiday weekend - shut down the work email and fire up Safari for some shopping! So many of these deals are just bonkers-crazy, it wouldn't even be smart to resist them!
Shopstyle has teamed up with Macy's and a few of it's favorite bloggers to feature gift guides for the holiday season. With Thanksgiving next week (and running a little on the late side!) the holidays are upon us folks. And I couldn't be more excited!!
To me there is nothing more quintessentially Christmas than shopping at Macy's! I grew up in Chicago where Macy's was originally the old Marshall Fields. Their windows and holiday selection this time of year is unmatched and so classic. When my husband and I first got married we splurged on a ton of Christmas ornaments from Macy's for our first Christmas tree as a married couple. Each year I pull out those gorgeous pieces and have such great memories! So Macy's really has a special place in my heart. Every year I do my Christmas shopping there.
I was asked to pull together ideal gifts for kids from the amazing selection at Macy's! Holiday shopping for my kids is something I look forward to every year. I have a few traditions that I stick to each year for my kids that makes Christmas gifts both practical and fun. Each year I try to buy a few investment pieces for their wardrobe, a new pair of shoes, some cozy new pajamas and Christmas wouldn't be magical without a few toys. Macy's has all these gifts and more this season to honor traditions old and new and make Santa shine this Christmas!
I mentioned earlier that I am really loving this poncho lately... I seriously have worn it so much it's starting to get embarrassing. In my book there is always a good excuse to wear it... it's raining, it's Monday, it's Saturday, it's cloudy. You name it. So since I have been wearing it so much I figured some photographic evidence was in order.
This was the first time I paired it with polka dots though. And now I officially have another excuse to wear it again, because I loved this combo.
One of the things that you gals have said over and over is that you want to see some pictures of my home now that we have done some major renovations. And I hope to deliver that to you over the coming weeks! Starting today with my office!
If you follow me on Instagram (user: JillGG) you know that we have done a lot of work to our main floor this past fall. We painted the entire main floor white (!!!) and then ripped out the old carpet and laminate floors that were peeling and gross and replaced them with hardwoods and then added a little island/peninsula in our kitchen which reconfigured the floor plan of our open plan home.
In the process, my office (which is a front room/bonus room) got a complete makeover as well. Previously my office just never worked for me, no matter what layout or furniture I chose (most of which was hand-me-downs - now I see why) it was never inspiring or organized. And since I spend every morning in here I really wanted something that not only was practical and efficient, but it also needs to hold my kids art supplies and few toys seeing as when they are around they want to be in here with me. But mostly I wanted something that was simple and GORGEOUS! I wanted to be inspired when I came in here to work.
I didn't have a huge budget nor did I really want to spend a lot of money. The desk is actually a dining room table from IKEA and having it floating opened up the wall behind it for (almost) wall to wall IKEA bookcases. I have TONS of books that I love to see displayed and then office supplies like staplers and paperclips are stored in baskets. Family photos and our growing collection of National Geographic magazines are also stored neatly away. At some point I would like to really style and have some fun with these shelves but I want to live with them for a while too. I find living in a space for a while inspires me about how to use it best. Organization comes with experience.
My splurge for the room was the cow skin rug (also from IKEA) - not that it was that expensive ($199, I think) but that it's a little indulgent looking, no? So far it has proved easy to vacuum and it holds up well to the kids tramping all over it. Besides those three major things (desk/table, bookcases, rug) the other items in the room I already owned and pulled from other rooms or they were no longer being used and were temporarily in the basement.
The campaign dresser was a $50 Craigslist find several years ago. It was previously in the living room with the tv above it, but when we moved the tv above the fireplace this beauty needed a new home. It holds TONS of kids toys, art supplies, entertaining supplies and office needs in it's huge drawers and I find that the more beat up it becomes the better I like it. I would love to get a mirror top for it - someday!
The lamps used to be in our bedroom and this past summer I got new ones there so these guys needed a new home. I love them to pieces, they just didn't work in our bedroom. The lamps were a Home Goods find several years ago. The art work was a diy I did a few years ago and used to be in our bedroom but no longer fit there when we got our new bed last winter so I saved it in the basement and was so happy to pull it out again. I'm not a great diy-er, but I do love this piece.
It's a quite simple room, I would love to add a new chair at some point (this one is second hand from Room & Board) - but I want to wait until I find the perfect one that I can't live without! In the meantime, this chair I borrowed from my kids' desk/work area in the basement and it fits in perfect. Again, sometimes you really have to live in a space to get a feel for what the space needs. The antlers and milk glass jar are both antique finds.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my home! I hope to feature more of our renovations soon!