Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 20 of 2013

It's always fun taking a trip down memory lane to reminiscence the past year. As 2013 draws to a close, I rounded up some of my favorite looks that I have posted on the this blog, twenty to be exact.

From the chevron craze earlier this year, to leopard being the new neutral, wearing more stripes than anything else, bright and bold colors, ankle boots being my BFF all year long, being mad about plaid, fur vests galore and my Phillip Lim for Target bag being my favorite purchase of the year, 2013 was probably the most fun I have had with fashion.

I learned what I like and don't like, what suits my style and budget and not to buy and wear things solely because someone else has it or looks cute in it. Believe it or not, I toned down my spending during the second half of the year and really thought hard about my purchases and how they could be worn more than just once. The key was reminding myself that I didn't necessarily need a particular item just because it was cute.

Style/fashion blogging is truly more than just clothes, it's getting inspired and inspiring others, building self confidence, managing personal budgets and financial boundaries, learning self control, a place where you can actually show people a glimpse of your personality without having to say a word and most importantly, for me, a creative outlet that's all my own.

I look forward to sharing more of my personal life and style with all of you in 2014. Thank you again for making this year one of the most memorable ones in all my years. This little space of mine is pretty special. I wouldn't be pouring my heart into if it weren't for you. If you have a question about any of the looks posted today, just shoot me an email or leave a comment. I didn't have the focus to link back to the original posts. Sorry for slacking.

I wish all of you a safe and Happy New Year. I hope you ring in the new year with a happy heart and big dreams for 2014. I am taking tomorrow off, so the Random Wednesday link up will be back in business next week. Be safe and cheers to us all. God bless!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Totally Typical

I missed The Day After Christmas shopping extravaganza because we were still celebrating at my parents' house. I don't think my family would have approved of me ducking out of our gift exchange and lunch to go shopping. So, I had to drum up every ounce of patience and wait until Friday to venture out to the stores. Surprisingly I only bought thing. I know, completely out of character.

Every place we walked into was either emptied out or in such shambles that I couldn't bare to rummage through what they did have left. The sole winner was this Banana Republic metallic gold pullover that was an additional 40% off the sale price. 

The rest of everything you see above are either gifts from Ross or the damage I did online Friday and Saturday night. I know it looks like I went a teeny bit overboard with the spending, but in my defense, most were on super sale and I used gift cards for 80% off it.

I don't know about you guys, but I think online shopping is the way to go. I used to get a high from hitting the mall after Christmas and any other day of the week, but lately, it makes me crazy...the crowds, people, messes, digging, more digging and the stores not being stocked with merchandise like they have online. It was actually therapeutic sitting in my PJs for a few several hours to shop, browse and add things to next year's Christmas list. I believe I may have switched over from the dark side to a much happier place called checking out with the mouse. Done and done.

In case you are wondering why this post is titled "Totally Typical", it's because I know you guys didn't expect anything other than seeing me add more stripes, dots, plaid and leopard to my closet. I need to try being a bit more unpredictable. I don't want to start boring anyone around here. 


Friday, December 27, 2013

Perfectly Plaid

Another day, another piece of plaid (and my favorite pair of riding boots). What is it about this time of year that so many of us grab the plaid? How, why and when did this pattern become such a holiday/seasonal icon? I guess it really doesn't matter because it just fits. I can't get enough of it and is quite possibly my numero uno go to for this time of year.

Forever 21 Peacoat (option here and here) // Kiki La'Rue Top c/o // Old Navy Leggings // Old Navy Thermal Shirt (option here) // MIA Riding Boots // Knee Socks from Kohl's (option here) // Cream Scarf Gift (option here) // Banana Republic Beanie Hat (option here) // H&M Sunglasses (option here) // Nordstrom Leather Wrap Bracelet c/o 

Kiki La'Rue sent over this plaid top and let me tell you, it's the "one". The length is perfection when it comes to covering your backside when wearing leggings. It's so tough to find longer, tunic tops that are comfortable, functional, cute and that don't require ironing! Can I get an amen? Well, ladies this top has made it to the top of my list. I have already worn it twice since it arrived and plan on wearing it a dozen more times this winter season and the next and the next. It's that magical. (I am wearing an extra small in case you were wondering.)

Can we also talk about these boots? I bought them last year, but are still available here, and have worn them more than any other boot on my shoe shelf. I call them my "trusties". They are on constant rotation and can be worn with almost anything and during any season. They have held up better than expected and look brand new. If you are still on the prowl for a pair of riding boots, I highly recommend this pair and they are less than $60. Score!

In other news, I hit the jackpot with gift cards for Christmas and fully plan to put them to fabulous use. I strategically stayed away from the crowds yesterday and plan on hitting the mall today. Can you say two-story Forever 21? If I discover any amazing treasures during my voyage, I promise to share them with you on Monday. I already have a few things on my list that I haven't been able to get out of my mind and hoping they are still hanging on the rack. Is there anything that I should be on the look out for? Tell me what's on your lust list. I don't think there is anything wrong with being Twinks with my friends.

Have a great weekend! Have you started gearing up for 2014? How crazy is that? A new year in less than a week! EEEEK!

P.S. Thank you to my sister-in-law, Rachel, for taking these photos during our camp house Christmas.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Home for the Holidays

I am back from Christmas vacation, well actually I am still in holiday mode and celebrating again today with my side of the family. I couldn't stay away another day and wanted to check in with all of you. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and that you enjoyed/are enjoying your time with family and friends.
Forever 21 Black Top (option here and here) // Forever 21 Puffer Vest (option here and here) // Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Denim // MIA Boots // Target Tartan Scarf (option here)  // Phillip Lim x Target Bag (option here and here) // Michael Kors Watch c/o Jeweler's Wife // Nordstrom Leather Wrap Bracelet c/o // Gigglosophy Heart Ring c/o // H&M Sunglasses (option here)

We have been on the go, traveling here and there since Saturday. Even though the last few days have seemed to run together, I have made a conscious effort to take it all in and savor every single moment. I really don't enjoy the days leading up to Christmas, but once all the shopping, decorating and preparing are complete, that's when I stop and say, "ahhhhh, now this is Christmas". Singing Christmas carols, relaxing with our families, staying in my PJs until noon, candlelight church service, annual Christmas Eve at our friends' house, dancing in the kitchen with Ross to Michael Buble's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" after the kids were tucked in, my girls waking up at 4:00 AM to see what Santa brought, the living room looking like a hurricane blew through after all the gifts were opened, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and so many more annual traditions that we have established as a family. So, I guess all the weeks of crazy madness that lead up to a few days worth of Christmas festivities is 100% worth it. Except the holiday hangover that proceeds and I am not talking about an alcohol induced one.

Side note: I wore this outfit last week when we were back home for Christmas round one. We grew up in this town for 18 years, but for some reason I didn't remember this church, where we took pictures, existing. Ross didn't seem to recall it either. After we stopped for a few photos, we took a little tour of our hometown to reminisce and take a walk drive down memory lane.  Even though I could never see myself living there again, it's always refreshing to go back and remind myself of where I came from and the history that it encompasses, our history.

Thanks for stopping by on the day after Christmas, one of the biggest shopping/return days of the year. You guys are the best and I hope all of you have the day off to relax and recuperate.  

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Joy and Delight

Because I don't have all your addresses to mail a holiday greeting, I thought I would send one to each of you here today. I consider each and every one of you a friend and wish you and your families a joyous holiday season. I plan to take most of this week off from blog land to spend time with my own family and friends, celebrate the reason for the season, patiently await Santa's arrival, kick my feet up, consume an absorbent amount of calories and finally breathe knowing that all the hustle and bustle is officially over until next year.
And because I love this little family of mine to the moon and back, I had to share a few other photos from our impromptu photo sesh at the "camp house" during Thanksgiving. Next year we will have an additional member joining in on the pictures. No, y'all, I am NOT expecting, I am talking about Mr. Gus. No more babies in the Schneider household...at least not the ones that have two legs. 

Enjoy this week with your family, take time to reflect on all your blessings, eat until your heart's content and take lots of pictures. I will be waiting to see them on Instagram and in all your holiday recap posts. God bless and be merry! See you in a few sleeps!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Whimsical Ways

Today is a sneak peek of the last trend from the Kotex® and Glam "Try It For Yourself" contest. The final theme doesn't officially go live until Monday, December 23rd, but all of the bloggers participating in this campaign wanted to give everyone a jump start on putting together the final look. 

...And this week's trend is whimsical. Hmmmm. That's a broad term. Right? I have to admit that I was a bit stumped on what whimsical style means when it comes to getting dressed. So, I turned to the internet for a little guidance. The dictionary term for whimsical is "playful, quaint or fanciful." Okay, that's a starting point.
Wallis Sequin Dress Worn as a Top c/o (options here and here) // H&M Skirt (similar styles here and here) // Merona Bow Belt at Target // Xhilaration Polka Dot Tights at Target // Zara Silver Heels (great options here and here) // Vera Wang for Kohl's Fur Shawl (fun option) // Sew Sarah R Clutch c/o // Lookbook Store Necklace c/o // Forever 21 Bracelet (option) // Forever 21 Rhinestone Studs (option)

Once again, I took items I already had hanging in my closet (except for the polka dot tights) and started playing. I knew I wanted something fun, flirty and a little out of the ordinary. When I think of whimsical the words sparkly, shimmery, dreamy and a little quirky dance around in my head. This look is one that I would have never thought to put together until I was challenged with the assignment. It was fun thinking outside the box and mixing pieces to create what I like to think is fanciful, playful and even a little quaint, just like Google told me.

You have three days to create your own whimsical style. This is the last chance to win a trip for two to new York City. Don't forget to take a picture wearing this week's trend to try for a chance to be entered. The prize package also includes a shopping spree, hair, make up and an editorial on Glam.com.

Upload your picture to Glam's Facebook page for a chance to win. The Glam editorial team will pick the best photo and the winner will receive a $100 AMEX gift card and be eligible for the grand prize trip to New York with a friend.


Shouldn't you decide what works for yourself? At Kotex®, we believe in the power of choices. That's why we offer a full lineup of tampons, pads and pantiliners. But you never know what works best until you try it. So, each week, we are challenging you to try a new trend - and flaunt your new look!

U by Kotex® provides protection that passes the only test that matters - your life. Try U by Kotex® for yourself and commit to protection you can get serious about. Head to Facebook to grab a sample and show us what trend you're trying this week. Let the world know what you think!

This contest runs from November 25, 2013 through December 29, 2013.

*Disclosure: Compensation was provided by U by Kotex® via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are 100% my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of U by Kotex®.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the BIG two

Well friends, tomorrow marks my two year blog anniversary. In case you are wondering why I am posting today, it's because I have prior obligations tomorrow. Plus, I tend to start celebrating any event a day early. Except for my birthday, that's kind of a month long deal. 

Get ready, this is going to be a long-doozy one. One I hope you enjoy reading and gain something from. One with a HUGE surprise at the end. I kinda poured my heart into it.

Lauren Conrad for Kohl's Sequin Top (options here and here) // Nordstrom Faux Leather Skirt c/o (options here and here) // Daily Look Reed Heels // Ily Couture Necklace // Sally Hansen White Out Polish with Sparkle Polish at Tips from Ulta

(Photographs by Melanie Wright Photography)

Where do I even begin with what this year has gifted me when it comes to my blog? Never in a million bazillion years did I think I would stick with it this long. I had absolutely no idea the impact that it would make on my life, how I would transform as a person, the blessings it would bring or the sorrows it has sometimes caused. 

My first year of blogging I was still trying to figure it all out...trying to learn the ropes, meeting new friends, figuring out my site's purpose, commenting on other blogs for hours a day, getting my hands on as much blog information as I could, setting up social media accounts and the list goes on.

The second year things changed a quite a bit. I finally figured out who I was and what I wanted my blog to represent, learned that I could actually make a little money along the way, purchased a "big girl" camera, took my posts and photographs more seriously, worked harder than I have in my entire life, thought about quitting a hundred times, put myself "out there" more than I ever imagined I would, gained confidence in myself, realized that there are mean people out there that will do whatever they can to knock you down and came to terms that no matter how you try to explain it, people who do not blog will never understand the impact that it makes on a person's life.

And that's the next part of this post. The blogging community. I am not going to lie, tears are welling up in my eyes as I type. Dear Lord, this community is mind blowing. Up until two years ago, I had zero clue that it existed. The comradery that comes along with this world, well, there really isn't anything else like it. We all visit each others spaces day in and day out, supporting one another, lifting spirits, following lives, copying outfits, duplicating recipes, witnessing engagements/marriages, seeing friends get pregnant, watching those babies be born, comforting life's losses, applauding life transformations and also just simple daily updates. Just stop and think about. It is WILD.

There are hundreds of you that I have never met in real life, yet I feel like we are the best of friends. We text, talk on the phone, email, FaceTime, send each other gifts, mail Christmas cards and have inside jokes.

There are also a handful of you ladies, you know who you are, that have been here since the beginning and are still blogging your hearts out as well. Go us! We all know how many blogs come and go. To say we have all stuck with it for two years (some even longer) is something to be pretty proud of.

To all of those non-blogging buddies, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, emailing, leaving comments on social media and all the face-to-face kindness. 

I could have never done any of this without the support of my husband, my kids, parents, in-laws, family and friends. You guys mean more to me than anything in this world. I know you may think I am crazy for starting this blog and may or may not understand the ins and outs of it, but you have never stopped cheering me on. For that, I am humbled.

Out of everything that took place this year, two memories stand out in my mind. I don't want to bore you with a 12 month blog reel recap and I didn't have to think twice about these highlights; traveling to London as the Wallis Blogger Ambassador and blog friends that turned into real life. There are so many more blessings that came my way, but we would be here all day and I know you have better things to do and read.

However, I do want to share what I have learned through blogging; things that have guided me to become a more confident woman and taught some valuable life lessons. I wrote a few personal blogging tips earlier this year that think are super helpful for new and veteran bloggers, but at the end of the day, there is so much more to blogging than just growing your blog. Believe it or not, growing as a person is the biggest reward this little space has given me. 

1. People say they blog for themselves. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but this is so not the case. Maybe that was the intent at the beginning, but most bloggers blog for other people. That's why we do what we do, for people to read our stories and what we have to say. Yes, I blog for myself, but I equally do it for you too. Just as in life, don't always be selfish. It's not always about you. Live for yourself, do what makes you happy, but consider others and take care of those who are close to you.

2. You cannot and will not make everyone happy. Don't even try. People will become detached. You will lose touch with friends. They will "un" follow you in life. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong. It just means that you may not have the same interests anymore.

3. People come and go. The loyal ones that love you will stick around no matter what you do or say.

4. Don't let negativity stop you from your goals, aspirations and dreams. People can try and suck the life out of you, especially the ones that don't know you. Remember they are most likely miserable human beings just trying to make themselves feel better.

5. If you are not happy, forcing a situation or your heart's not in it, take break or re-route yourself. But always, always, always make sure it's for the right reasons.

6. Compare yourself to others. It's totally okay. We all do it. It's human nature. Just don't let it consume you. Use those "people" as inspiration, goal setting and to push you forward. Remember there will always be people in front of you and several trying to catch up to where you are at.

7. We all make mistakes. We are human. Learn from it, steer away from doing it again and move on.

8. Be genuine. People can smell a fake from a mile a way. At least I can.

9.  It takes money to make money. Yes, that may sound harsh, but just like anything in life, if you want to grow your blog/business and make a little dough on the side, you will have to invest. Just plan and spend wisely. 

10. Unnecessary drama is gross. Keep it classy and your nose clean. Believe me. I have been there, done that and have a few t-shirts from my past. 

And one to grow on....do what you love, love what you do. Go for it!! Believe in yourself. Life is too short. People may whisper, roll their eyes and think you are crazy. Hey, you probably will bite the biff a time or two, but to me, a few bruises are better than never stumbling at all.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything. I would not be here if it weren't for you and that's the truth. You guys are the reason I am here and coming back five days a week. Cheers to 2014 and all it has to offer.

Now for the surprise! I have teamed up with 12 of my favorite shops that have supported me since I started my blogging ventures for one ginormous giveaway. The prize package is worth over $350 and every single thing up for grabs is AMAZING!! Be sure to check out their sites because I swear each one of them have the cutest, most adorable and unique products around. Perfect for last minute holiday gifts or any other special occasion.

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