Wow, ya’ll.

I don’t know where you are in the world, but I don’t think it matters anymore– we are all affected by the coronavirus. COVID-19 has changed 2020, and our lives at the moment. Most everyone I know is self-quarantining by working from home and staying away from people.

Most of the stores, restaurants and bars are closed, and other places are encouraging drive-thru service only. Some parks are closed, too. All of this social distancing has me thinking: What if this was what life was like, all the time?

To be honest, my mental state hasn’t really been affected so far. I am a homebody (luckily) so cabin fever hasn’t set in. I also don’t do a lot of “social” things during the week– I go to work, to the gym, and home. But I know a lot of people are already seriously affected by the change in surroundings and the lack of human interaction.

At the beach before quarantine/ social distancing started

I wanted to share some of what I am doing to stay as close to a “normal” routine as possible, and how I am beating cabin fever. Please use this post to leave your tips here, share how you’re feeling, or anything else you need to talk about. We’re all in this weird space together!

Staying active: My gym’s closed, and chances are yours is too. Working out is really important to me though and I can totally feel a difference when I don’t get some active time in. To beat the sluggish feeling, I downloaded a 3-month membership of Beachbody on Demand. No, I don’t get money if you join and I’m not a”coach” or anything, but this program is great. You get 2 weeks free when you sign up and there are dozens of programs you get access to when you join. It’s basically a bunch of videos and worksheets for different fitness programs. I started the 21 Day Fix videos, and I am already obsessed. I know they’re working because of how sore I am, and it’s only day 3!

FaceTime/Skype dates: I have heard a bunch of people doing “virtual happy hours” where they pour a drink and talk with a friend on FaceTime or another video app. I had a FaceTime lunch date with a friend today, and it totally brightened my day to see her and talk like we were having a normal lunch during the week. It’s amazing what that does to your psyche.

Go outside: Fresh air is underrated. Thankfully the weather is beautiful in Birmingham, so getting outside is a great way to beat cabin fever. Take a walk around the block with your partner, with the dogs, or by yourself to clear your head. I know that’s on everyone’s list, but its so true.

Count your blessings: We have to remember how lucky we are, even in the midst of this crisis. If you’re reading this, you have internet and a device to use the internet. I have a house, food, and Netflix. I am healthy, my family’s healthy, and that’s all that matters. Not everyone is so lucky.

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Eeeek spring is so close! For spring I am really loving subtle prints, bright shoes, big earrings, white T-shirt’s (of course, do know me?) and bright bags. Per the usual, accessories are my way to really get into the season and use color without going too far out of my comfort zone. And luckily for me, these are things I really already have.

I thought it would be fun to compile some of my recent favorite things that I am definitely bringing into this season. Shopping your own closet is so important, and this is my way to do just that and remind myself of the awesome things I have– and to share them with y’all! Everything is linked if you see something you have to have!


This Brahmin bag was my lifesaver last summer, and I am breaking it out the second the sun starts shining again. I’m not waiting until summer! This bag is 100% worth the money- it’s amazing quality and it’s so darn cute! It comes in several bright colors, along with black, and has a functional card holder on the lining. I adore this bag and have definitely already looked at buying the white one.

Brahmin EVIE MELBOURNE purse

Madewell whisper tees and tanks. Need I say more? These are a staple in my closet and I think everyone should own at least one. I have the tank, the v neck, and the crew neck versions. These go perfectly with denim shorts and big earrings, and it’s the easiest outfit ever!

Madewell whisper tee via ShopBop

Walmart leopard shoes. YALL these shoes!! They’re so comfy and definitely look much more expensive than they are… because they’re $5. FIVE. I know! You need these immediately… walk, don’t run to Walmart. They will look so cute with a white tee and denim cutoffs, but also with dresses. I already have gotten my monies worth of these shoes and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I also wore them all over Miami and to the SuperBowl, and didn’t have blisters whatsoever.

Walmart tennis shoes via Walmart

A cropped pink utility jacket I got a few months back has been a life saver this season. It is light enough to be easy to throw on, but also warm on spring days or in chilly restaurants. Mine was the brand Splendid and I purchased from TJ Maxx, but this one is similar and under $20!

Thick gold hoops are a staple year-round for me, but especially in the warmer months with a white tank or with a strapless dress.

White booties are so much more wearable than you think. They go with blue and black jeans, basically any color top, shorts, dresses, you name it. Just make sure you Scotchgard them before you leave the house so you don’t have to worry about stains!!

Sam Edelman white boots via ShopBop

Christmas shopping outfit

What are you bringing out of your closet this season?

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

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Well, we went to the Super Bowl! Our team didn’t win, but we played a hell of a game…. and Mitri and I had a blast in Miami before hand.

I had never been to Miami before and I had SO many things I wanted to see and do. With it being Super Bowl weekend too, that just multiplied the things in our schedule.

If you’re visiting Miami for just a short time, this is the travel diary for you! I packed so many things into our weekend, and I would have even been able to put more in if we weren’t there for the game. Anyways, these are my must-go dos if you are in Miami for a weekend! 

Similar shirt | Similar earrings

Friday:

We got to the Fort Lauderdale airport around lunch and made our way to the hotel. Then, we headed straight to lunch at Monty’s Raw Bar.

Monty's Raw bar in Miami

Y’all. If you go to Miami, Monty’s is a must. Don’t let the name fool you— there are a gazillion things that aren’t raw. I got nachos, and Mit got tacos. Everything was incredible, and their drink menu was just as delicious looking as the food menu. The atmosphere was also so fun. It’s on a dock, with dozens of yachts surrounding the pier. I am not sure what they do when it’s bad weather, because it’s pretty much all outside, but I guess it’s comfortable year round because of the temps. 

Also there are the cutest pelicans that hang out too!

Pelican outside Monty's Raw Bar (Photo credit Ivana Hrynkiw)

After Monty’s, we went to Little Havana to take a look around and get ice cream at Azucar. That was a place on every touristy list, but it’s so worth it. It was SO GOOD. Thankfully we had it again on Sunday at the stadium because I would have not wanted to leave without going back.

We also just walked around Little Havana and explored the little shops and restaurants. We didn’t spend more than probably an hour here, so it was pretty easy to fit in.

Next, we headed to the Super Bowl LIVE experience downtown. That obviously isn’t an all-the-time thing, but it was so cool. We got to see some players and explore this area that was specially set up for the 49ers and Chiefs. They even had separate bars for each team’s fans.

We had reservations at Esotico (also downtown), so we rode scooters from the LIV experience to Esotico. That was an experience I will spare you from, yet super fun and I definitely recommend. I had to take a blurry phone photo to document that we survived it.

Esotico Miami

Esotico was phenomenal. It’s a tiki bar/restaurant so every single drink was to die for, and were served in the cutest cups. The food was just as yummy— we got the coconut fried rice (it’s served in a pineapple!) and chicken curry. It doesn’t hurt that the place was adorable. The owner is amazing, and his son is the best and sweetest server, so ask for him and make sure you ask to meet the owner too. (PS if you call, it goes to the owner’s cell. I used Open Table for reservations, but it turned out I didn’t really need them)

Saturday:

Saturday morning we spent on South Beach: We had breakfast at Havana 1957, which is another super-recommended place on all the travel lists but is again totally worth it. Breakfast was delicious, affordable, and we got to sit on the sidewalk on Ocean Drive. We walked around South Beach for a while and then headed to the Super Bowl Experience at the Convention Center.

Outside the Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive, being touristy
Ocean Drive Miami

I won’t go on about that because I bet you won’t be in Miami for the Super Bowl, but if you ever go to a Bowl you definitely should pay to do the Super Bowl Experience. It’s 100% worth it, you get to see all the trophies, rings, etc. 

That took most of the day, but afterward we headed to Lincoln Road Mall. Following that, we went back to the hotel and did dinner at the Dadeland Mall.

Sunday:

All game day stuff! Which you probably won’t be doing , unless you’re there for a Dolphins game. In that case, the stadium is great and pretty close to lots of food, hotels, etc.

San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl LIV (photo credit Ivana Hrynkiw)

I hope this guide helps if you are headed on a Miami vacay! Send me your favorite spots in the city. I can’t wait to go back.

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ASOS Spring and Summer Haul

Okay ya’ll, I know it’s January but I already have spring fever. It’s probably a combination of two things- one, me fighting off the flu for the last week and two, me getting excited for several fun trips I have coming up this spring and summer.

Because I’ve been spending a lot of time on my couch with a box of tissues, I’ve been doing a LOT of online browsing…. which naturally turned into online shopping. I placed a big order from ASOS the other day and it definitely gave me all the spring feels!

Here’s what I ordered from ASOS. I got free two-day shipping (obviously reminding me I spent too much $$$) so I am hoping to get these in soon and I can share what I loved and what I didn’t like as much. Keep in mind almost everything here is on sale! So if you love something, go go go before it’s gone!

1. Striped bathing suit– When I saw this super cute suit I knew I had to have it. I love the high-waisted trend (who doesn’t?) but I love how this one hits just bellow the belly button. I love the cute little ruffle on the straps, too! I think this is the one I’m really crossing my fingers fits well!

2. Floral mini sundress– This little dress would be so cute for a lunch outing on one of my upcoming trips, or even a casual dinner. I love pieces like this because they’re so easy to pack, too!

3. White flouncy top– This is just a spring staple in my opinion. It can be worn with jeans while it’s still a little chilly, or even shorts and a cardigan. And then in the summer, just drop the cardigan! It would also be cute over a bikini if you’re doing a beach-to-lunch kind of day.

4. Black high-neck maxi dress– To be honest, I wanted this in red but they didn’t have my size. But, I think the black will be more versatile! I am hoping to wear this on some upcoming Bachelorette parties and then again for date nights this summer! With some white statement earrings, I think this will be the cutest outfit.

5. Coral one-piece bathing suit– This bathing suit called my name, from the cut to the color. I loveeeee coral, and I think the cut of this suit looks super flattering. I hope this one fits, because I love a good one piece!

6. Orange crop top and pants beach set– Swoon! This set will be SO cute on the beach or for a water-front dinner. Orange is one of my favorite colors to wear, and this material looks so light and breathable. That’s huge for me in this Alabama weather!

7. Bright pink bikini top– I didn’t get the matching bottoms to this because 1- I have more bottoms I like than tops already and 2- I could wear this as a bralette under flowy and open summer tops! Wearing bikini tops as bralettes is one of my favorite hacks, because they are made to stay in place and they normally have padding. I also love the neon color!

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

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Happy 2020 ya’ll! I took a nice long break for the month of December from work, blogging, and pretty much everything. And it was so nice. I definitely needed it, and I feel so recharged! I’ll be back to posting weekly content here on the Southern Style Diaries and I have some really cool things planned for this year.

But let’s talk fashion, shall we. January is a weird time— its winter, so it’s cold and you want to be comfy… but you also want to look like you tried at least a little for dates or brunch with the girls. Something that solve the cute/comfy dilemma for me? Midi skirts and sweaters. It looks like you pulled yourself together but also you are cozy enough to go lay on the couch at any moment.

Here’s one of my fave examples of this look— and the best part is it’s all from Walmart! The skirt is $5.99 and the sweater is $9.99.

Midi skirt and sweater outfit

I also can’t take credit for this look totally, I definitely got inspiration from one of my favorite bloggers Glitter & Gingham. I used this shoot as a great excuse to shoot Christmas card photos with my husband!

Midi skirt and sweater outfit
Skirt | Sweater| Boots (similar) | Hoops (similar)
Midi skirt and sweater outfit

This sweater is definitely roomy (which is how I like it) so with a fitted skirt like this, I tuck the hem of my sweater into the bottom of my bra. It gives the cutest flouncy-look but also doesn’t cover up your waist. You can also use a skinny belt and pull the fabric out of the belt, too. 

This skirt is a medium and the sweater is a large, btw! 

Midi skirt and sweater outfit
Midi skirt and sweater outfit

Photos by Sam Shatara and Mitri Shatara. This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

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It’s the holidays already, which is crazy… but that’s another conversation.

Today I want to talk about how I save money and shop smart during the Christmas season! There are so many ways you can save when buying all those gifts on your list, and keep track of what you’re spending and what you have purchased/ still need to buy. I figured everyone knew about these shopping hacks but after multiple conversations with friends and family, ya’ll need the money-saving tips! 

Here are my favorite hacks for shopping this season.

Me, thinking about all the money I'm about to save this holiday season
Me thinking about all the money I’m about to save

Ebates, now called Rakuten: Ya’ll listen. This is not a scam, even though it sounds like it is. You just go to the Rakuten website and then click on whatever website you want to go to through the Rakuten site. That’s it, that’s the whole process. Each site has a different cash back deal and it’s different every week. For example, say Ulta is doing 10 percent cash back. You go to Ulta’s site through Rakuten, shop, and check out. Then in a day or two you will get 10 percent of that purchase credited to your Rakuten account. You get a check every few months, or you can request it whenever you want. You can also use the mobile app or install the Chrome browser extension so you don’t ever miss a site that has cash back going on (that’s what I do!)

If you want to download, go here and you’ll get $10 to kickstart your account. 

https://www.rakuten.com/r/IVANAS122?eeid=28187

Retail Me Not: This is a website and app for your phone that gives you all the coupons and lets you know what sales are happening. Just type in the store you’re at, and then the site/app gives you all the coupons, sales, and deals at the store both in-store and online. Sometimes the older coupons towards the bottom don’t work (they’re expired and the page hasn’t been updated) but it’s still worth checking. You can also get the app to monitor your location and alert you when you’re near a store with deals or coupons. That way you don’t forget!

Santa’s Bag app: Ya’ll I love this app. If you’re Christmas/holiday obsessed like me, and buy a lot of gifts, you need it. You can set a budget and then log how much each gift you buy is, and the calculator will keep you on track and let you know anytime how much you’ve spent on gifts and how much you have left from the budget you set. You also can log each gift and its specific person, so you don’t ever lost track of what’s under the tree! I love this app so much.

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Let’s face it, a love of shopping can get expensive. Especially if you are into trends!

The thing is though, it doesn’t have to be. I am ALL about some bargain shopping- T.J. Maxx, thrift stores, consignment shops, Poshmark, you name it. If I can find something I love for a cheaper price, I 100% will take it.

Here are the latest bargains I’ve scooped up for fall, mimicking some much higher-price pieces. I would love to do one of these every season, because I am sure I can find enough! Happy shopping!

Walmart Golden Goose dupes: I have tried sooooo many GG dupes over the past few weeks because, let’s be real, I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on dirty tennis shoes. For some reason all the ones I ordered— which looked great online— fit super small! On a random Walmart trip I happened to go by the shoe section and noticed they had some of the BEST dupes for $16! They had a black pair with glitter and a silver star & a plain silver pair. I got the black, and later went back and bought a white pair with a leopard stripe. These shoes are so cute, totally on trend, affordable, and SO comfortable. They have a memory foam sole and if that’s not heaven, I don’t want to go.

Old Navy funnel-neck tan coat: This coat ya’ll- it’s so good. I have always wanted a nice camel coat, especially after my mom last year got the cutest one from Madewell. That one was pretty pricey (we can’t share coats unfortunately because she’s super tiny) so I didn’t buy it, but I knew I wanted something similar. Enter this new coat Old Navy just came out with. It’s great quality and has such a classic cut you will wear it for years. And Old Navy is always having sales! It’s regularly $69 but I got mine for $35 during one of their weekend blowouts. Just keep an eye on the site and order at the right time. I got a medium and its perfect for wearing thicker sweaters or tops under.

photo credit: Old Navy

Amazon Colorfulkoala leggings: These leggings are incredible. They are basically like butter! And they have the little pockets like the Lululemon ones that are a million dollars. I am pretty picky about leggings but these are amazing- I can wear them to the gym or just running around doing errands, and I’m not constantly pulling at them or making sure they don’t bunch up in the wrong places. 100% worth $25 because that’s basically what I pay for not-so-great leggings anyway! 

Target Sugarfix earrings: Target’s Baublebar line is gold, and their latest earrings are too! They have so many fun, glitzy earrings for the holidays— which if you buy at a department store or boutique can really cost you. Because I have zero self control, I bought two pairs the other day for the upcoming season, one blue and one red pair, both beaded (which also makes them expensive usually). They probably won’t last for years and years, but they are pretty decent quality and they’re just $12.99. Count me in! 

Sugarfix earrings

This post was not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year— boot season! I love a good boot or bootie paired with just about anything. They’re flattering, comfortable, and usually easy to walk in. They are also practical, which is something that definitely factors in for me!

Things on my list for boots this season: Western style and neutral colors.

Graphic of eight boots for fall 2019

1. American Rag western booties: These are a Macy’s exclusive, so head there before they sell out! I love the western style– it can be dressed up or down so easily.

2. Seychelles Coastal River boot: While these don’t totally fall into my western theme, I think these are so classic and the seams do give a little interest and texture. This brand is also so underrated!

3. Dolce Vita Solei boots: Obssssssessed with these babies but they are definitely a splurge. They come in brown and gray but I am in love with this color and with the western dip at the top, which brings me to…

4. Crown Vintage Windy cowboy boot: These boots are total dupes! The only thing is I wish the toe was pointy, like the DV ones, but for the price difference it’s completely worth it. And, the color is nearly identical. These will go with everything this fall/winter and I’ve already ordered from DSW!

5. Ugg Tania boots: I haven’t bought a new pair of Uggs… ever actually. I have the same ones I got for Christmas in early high school and they are definitely in need of a replacement! I love the height of these ones and also the fur detail on the top.

6. Sam Edelman leopard booties: I love the pattern and the buckle detail. There’s something about a printed bootie that gets me every time.

7. Sam Edelman Hiltin tall boots: These are another splurge, but Nordstrom has them on sale right now if you’re interested. I love the color of these too and also the structured, classic look. Right before posting this though, I found another dupe! This one from Target, and I ordered as soon as I saw them. Hurry, they won’t last long.

8. Marc Fisher Rental 2 Chelsea: I have had a fling with white booties this year, and these are no exception. I have a plain, smooth pair from Forever 21 but I adore the texture of these! And, again with the pointy toe. Definitely a pattern here- the point makes your legs look longer and thinner.

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It’s funny, I had planned to write a Meghan Markle post for the past few months and just never got around to it… but with the latest news that the couple is suing over some downright awful media coverage, I thought this was the perfect time to share.

I have loved Meghan for years, especially beginning when my friend who loved Suits got me into her. At the time I got into her and found her blog The Tig, it was rumored she was dating Prince Harry. Thank god that was true, and look at her now! 

But that’s not my point. I loved her and her blog for so many reasons, and I still do. On The Tig, she talked about sustainability, beauty, fashion, prayer/meditation, food, wine, and basically all things lifestyle. One thing we learned through The Tig is that Meghan is just a generally cool, ordinary yet inspirational person. She shops at H&M and Madewell, she loved Eat, Pray, Love just like the rest of us, and she is fine with being a home body.

I think that is the PERFECT person to be a royal and set the standard for how people should act. 

The fact is that she’s a cool person, and 100000% gorgeous. She’s mixed, American, not from insane wealth… literally everything the royal family needs. Maybe that’s exactly the reason why the British press won’t leave her alone… because she is different. She’s setting a new standard, one that’s different than the traditional one. And, some people don’t like change.

While The Tig was shut down shortly before her engagement, you can still find some of her posts online (because, as we know, the internet never forgets). One of my favorite posts is still bookmarked on my laptop, because every so often I need a reminder. I think it is so inspirational and can give a few tips to all of us on how to act like a decent human being.

Here’s the link to that piece, and I think everyone should take 5 minutes to read it.

It’s called “How to be Both” and I think it– weirdly enough, as this was written years ago— proves she can be herself and still be the Duchess. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

You CAN be different than the norm, no matter what situation you’re in. Personally, I hope I can have a daughter I teach to look up to people like her for these exact reasons.

Basically everyone needs to just leave Meghan alone. The end.

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One of my favorite styles is dainty jewelry. I definitely am a “more is more” type of gal when it comes to jewelry, and small delicate necklaces are the perfect way to follow that philosophy.

How to style dainty necklaces

The key to pairing multiple dainty necklaces together is to get the right lengths. You can’t have three necklaces all the exact same length- they’ll tangle and also people won’t be able to see what’s on each one. I like to wear one choker/semi-choker, one just slightly longer that hits my collarbone, and one a little longer to my chest. If you’re just doing two necklaces, just take one of those lengths out of the equation.

For example, here are some of my favorite ways to wear two necklaces. 

And three! 

How to style dainty necklaces
How to style dainty necklaces

My favorite layering necklaces have adjustable chains, too. That means you don’t have to be as precise about the lengths- just pull out the necklaces you want to wear and pick which one you want to be shorter! 

I usually go with either this choker from Etsy or this necklace from The Sis Kiss as my first layer. The Sis Kiss has such adorable pieces, I could wear a whole set just from them! You can customize any necklace with your name or any word and chose if you want crystals, the metal, and all kinds of different things. The choices are endless for you to create a fun and unique piece! 

Then I wear my Arabic necklace, which says my name in Arabic. This was a gift from my husband that was purchased overseas so I can’t tell you exactly where I got mine, but Etsy has similar ones in Arabic and I’m sure in other languages, too.

I also like to pair these with some of my other favorite chains, like my hummingbird necklace from TJ Maxx (here’s a similar one) or my Melanie Auld gold bar chain.

How to style dainty necklaces

Don’t be afraid to mix metals- I think a combo of materials makes your style more interesting! I also like to wear a beaded necklace sometimes to break things up. Kristalize is one of my favorite places to scoop up fun and trendy jewelry, and the owner Krista is a total doll.

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