This weekend I went a little home improvement crazy… but I got so much done! Something I have been wanting to do forever was tile the fireplace surround in our bedroom, and I finally did it. No, I had never tried tiling, but I watched dozens of YouTube videos about it and got the confidence up to try.

We planted boxwoods and sodded our front yard this weekend too, but that’s another story…

Below I will share my process and the tips I learned through the experience. It might be a pain, but you can do it!

Choose your tile

I purchased mine at Lowe’s, but you can buy tile at any home improvement center. Make sure you know what form of tile you want when you go in- do you want uniform, square tiles that you have to individually place? Or do you want tiles arranged in a pattern on a mesh backing? I opted for the second kind, because I wanted a subway tile that has a stacked look.

Knowing what style or color you’re going for before you go to buy will make it so much easier!

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Plan out your tiling area

The best advice I can give you is what my mom told me: Buy a big piece of cardboard and draw out the area you are planning to tile. Use the exact measurements and outline your area with sharpie, so you can see the edges while you’re laying out your pieces.

Now, lay down your tile! Figure out what pieces need to go where and which ones are going to have to be cut (if any). If you have to cut a few pieces, get a ruler and mark the spot that needs to be cut. I used pencil, but you can use sharpie on the back of the tile too.

While this part is the most tedious of the entire tiling process, I swear to you it’s worth it. You can play around and work out the kinks before it becomes a disaster.

TIP: If you buy your tile at Lowe’s, they will cut it for 25 cents a piece. All together, I got everything I needed cut for under $4, and I had to cut quite a bit. If you have to cut it yourself, you’ll need a wet saw or a tile cutter—- you need a wet saw, which is more expensive, if your tiles are natural stones like marble or granite, otherwise the tile cutter should be fine.

Lay the tile

Clean your surface, clean your surface, clean your surface! I used a vinegar mixture, but any sort of degreaser works fine. Now you’re ready to go!

Now, you can use mortar to lay the tile, but I found that to be a overkill for the small area I was working on. I used adhesive mats by Musselbound- I cut the shape I needed and stuck it to my surface, and then peeled the label off the front to stick my tile. It was the easiest part of the whole process. The sheets come in different sizes and can be cut to fit any area. I highly recommend it!

Now comes the tile. Make sure you know what pieces go where (thanks to your handy layout!) and start placing on the sticky mat (or mortar if you choose to go that route). Lay your tile from the bottom up and start every section from the bottom! A Lowe’s employee told me that, and it made a world of difference. Tiling is different for everyone because of your space, but I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

My tiles were on a mesh backing, which was helpful because I could lay a sheet of 5 or so but also pull off one if I didn’t have space for it.

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Grout

If you used your new BFF adhesive mats, then you don’t have to wait to begin the grouting process. This is unfortunately much messier than I imagined, forewarning.

When you purchase grout, you can buy the separate products to mix together or you can buy it premixed. While premixed came out to be a little pricier, I went with that so I didn’t have to buy an electric mixer and go through the headache of mixing. The premixed comes in different colors, too- I bought white. You’ll also need a few sponges, something to spread with (I used a plastic putty knife) and a grout float.

Here we go! As scary as it is, you just kind of have to do it. I used my putty knife to spread grout on the end of my flout, and started rubbing it across the tiles diagonally, pushing it into the spaces between tiles. Safe bet that this will take longer than you planned for.

After each section, wipe down the tiles with a wet sponge. Try not to wait more than 10 minutes before wiping down an area, or the grout gets stuck on like glue. I learned that the hard way.

Once you’re finished, feel free to give it another wipe down with a clean, damp sponge. (I got the grout all over my fireplace cover, but I am planning to paint it anyway so I wasn’t too concerned.)

You’re finished!

Ah! While it’s a time consuming and labor intensive process, tiling was definitely not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I bought my tile and planned it out on Thursday, cut it and laid it on Friday, and grouted Saturday. It’s the perfect weekend project, and won’t break your bank! For an idea, here is an approximate value of what the project cost me. It was SO worth it for me, because the fireplace is something I see every day and the tile makes me feel like my home is so much more put together.

$80 tile, $4 cutting, $49 premixed grout, $6 float= about $140

Before:

After:

Happy tiling!  

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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While I don’t wear foundation every day, I follow the same routine on the days I do. I use both drugstore and high-end products to create this look, but you could find something comparable to every expensive product at your local pharmacy or Ulta.

I hope you enjoy this video and let me know what you think!

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One of my favorite places in my house is the kitchen. Not only do I love food, and love to cook and bake, I love how the kitchen seems to always be a gathering place. Everyone comes in the kitchen to talk while the water boils, or help wash dishes, or to grab a cookie after dinner.

I also love having friends and family over for meals. My table is always set, just in case someone decides to stop by for an impromptu dinner.

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Which brings me to this post. For my birthday, my mom took me to a hidden gem called the Alabama Dish Outlet and bought me a set of Fiesta plates. If there’s anything I love more than the kitchen, it’s the Fiesta ware that’s supposed to be there! I have loved Fiesta dishes since I was little and saw them on my grandmother’s wall, and now I have a set of my own. Thanks mama!

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Almost as much fun as getting the plates was the experience of the Alabama Dish Outlet. Located off the interstate in Oxford, the outlet is a small building off a gravel drive. When you walk in, you immediately see Fiesta from the floor to the ceiling- in what seems like hundreds of colors and styles. If you want more information on this hidden gem and their amazing prices, check out their Facebook page. (We saved over 70%!)

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I wanted to have a common color scheme, and not all my pieces to be the exact same color. I went with a very earthy palette of greens and yellows that I think will look so good in our kitchen! If you’re into the mismatched look, the Fiesta website has a great feature where you can see which colors look good together.

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Our walls are a soft yellow, and we have hickory colored wood throughout the room. I also want to paint the cabinets one of these days, and I know a cream color will look great with these dishes.

 

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Dinner plates: “Lemongrass” (Light, yellow green)

Salad plates: “Sunflower” (Light yellow)

Bowls: “Pale Yellow” (Yellowish cream)

Platters, dishes: “Sunflower,” “Marigold” (discontinued color), “Pale Yellow”

Fiesta, plates, dishes

Do you love Fiesta as much as I do, or is there another dish ware brand you use? Let me know what you think about my new plates and color palette!  

 

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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Makeup brushes can make all the difference when it comes to makeup- and that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. While I’ll admit, I have way too many brushes, I reach for the exact same ones every day. Some of my favorites are below with links to buy in bold and prices for each!

What are your favorite brushes? Have you tried any of mine?

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ELF Blending Brush– $6

This brush is one of my absolute favorite brushes I own, and I use it primarily to blend my contour. It’s insanely soft and thick, yet it can still be used to contour your nose if you handle it right. Until I bought this brush, I didn’t contour very often because I couldn’t quite get it blended enough. This solved that problem and more! They make a smaller version of this brush, but I’m satisfied with the large one. If you like a soft contour look, buy this NOW. You won’t regret it.

makeup, brushes, elf

Makeup Geek Angled Brush– $17

I’ve always heard Makeup Geek makes amazing brushes, and this definitely lived up to the hype. I use this brush every single day to blend my under-eye brightener and or concealer. Instead of pulling this brush (which is very dense) across that delicate skin, I lightly tap it across the entire area to blend. This brush has given me the best coverage under-eye area that I’ve ever had! I know it’s a little pricey for a brush that you won’t use all over your face, but if you have zombie-like dark circles like I do then it’s worth every cent. (They call this a stippling brush so I guess you could use it for powder or foundation, but I’ve never used it for that!

makeup, brushes, makeup geek

Wet N’ Wild Stippling Brush– $2.99

This small stippling brush is such a good product, and it’s from the drugstore! I use it to apply translucent powder under my eyes and on my T-zone. In the summer, I’ll probably use it for finishing powder on my entire face. Stippling brushes can be used for literally ANYTHING, so if you don’t wear finishing powder, I’m sure you will find a use for this. Wet N’ Wild also makes a larger version of this brush which is also a great deal.

makeup, brushes, wet n wild

Eco Tools Skin Perfecting Brush– $13.99

I’ll admit, this brush and I had a slow start to our love. It’s a very dense brush with short hairs, and I wasn’t sure what I would use it for. I bought it for foundation, but it was just too stiff/ not flexible for me to apply my liquid foundation. Then, I reached for it to apply my cream highlighter… and I fell in love. The stiffness is perfect for getting your highlight exactly where you want it so you don’t end up looking like a glittery My Little Pony. I recently tried this brush with my Elf illuminating palette, and it worked great with those colors too- I usually experience a lot of fallout when grabbing product with a brush in that palette, but this brush minimized that issue.

makeup, brushes, eco tools

Wet N’ Wild Powder Brush– $2.99

Oh Wet N’ Wild, my love for you is endless. The powder brush, which is from the same line as the stippling brush I mentioned above, is also perfection. I use it for everything from bronzer to blush to powder foundation- and everything ends up looking perfectly applied and blended. The powder brush is thick and has rounded tips, making it great for any part of your face. I had been using an Avon brush for bronzer, but it started shedding so badly that I looked like a porcupine. I went out and bought this for just $3, thinking I would use it as a quick fix until I could get another Avon brush. Nope, keeping this instead.

makeup, brushes, wet n wild

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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Happy almost spring! When the weather starts to get nice, it makes me want to pop out all of my warm weather clothes at once… which is not the best idea, but you get the picture.

This weekend my boyfriend, his mom and I went to a tulip festival! You could pick tulips from this field that was filled with thousands of the flowers, and then walk around the grounds of the 183-acre property. We had so much fun, and it was a great day to show you one of my casual spring-like outfits that I’m breaking out of my closet.

What are you looking forward to wearing this spring? Product information is listed at the bottom.

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My basket got full fast! There were too many pretty tulips to choose from, so naturally I had to have one of each color.

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I was photo bombed by Mitri’s mom mid-shoot, but can’t say I am mad about it!

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Photo creds to Mitri, because I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who takes millions of pictures of me even when its cold and windy! 

Shoes: Low-top Converse available here

Pants: Free People jeans, similar available here

Shirt: AJ by Adriano Goldschmeid, similar available here

Sweater: purchased at TJ Maxx, similar available here

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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It’s been a while since I made a post on my home, so I thought right now was the perfect time. Everyone is starting to get in spring-cleaning mode, and what’s a better way to change up your space than hanging something new on the walls?

One of my favorite forms of art is old concert posters. I think they are so vintage and classic, but still can look clean and polished if you frame them correctly. Don’t think about your teenage bedroom- think about a funky, new-age loft.

My mom got me five amazing posters from some of my favorite artists in New Orleans… for $1 a piece! She brought them back and helped me frame, and hang, them once we had our hallway painted. (Yeah, she’s an angel.)

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Below is how we styled my concert posters, and how you can too!

You’ll need scissors or an X-Acto knife (which will change your life if you don’t have one), a ruler, nails or hooks, and a hammer for the basic framing and hanging. I’ll talk more about the frames below.

First, get a mental image of how you want your posters to look when they make it on the wall. Do you want them scattered in a gallery wall? Or diagonally stacked, like mine? What color room are you hanging them in? This is all important as to the size and color of the frames you will purchase.

Once you figure that out, I suggest buying frames that do not require a mat. It will save you time (and stress) if you can make your poster fit in the frame. My posters were closest to the frame size 11×14– they needed a little trimming for a perfect fit. For the frames, I suggest buying ones that the 4 edges slide off and then slide back on to reconnect. These are perfect!  (via Amazon)

This is how these kinds of frames work: Lay your poster on top of the cardboard that comes with the frame. Trim your poster to the exact size of the cardboard, using your ruler as a straight edge. Then, lay the poster on top of the cardboard and start with one of the the SIDE edges- I’ve found that this makes the rest of the process so much easier. Slide on the side piece, encompassing the cardboard, poster, and glass (or plastic).

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Getting started is the hard part- now you just have to add the other three sides! I suggest doing the top piece second, bottom piece third, and adding the other side piece last. Viola! You’re done! (Now, just do that to every poster.)

Arrange your posters

Once you’re finished framing, take the posters to the area you want to hang them in. At this stage, it helps to have another person to help you arrange the frames in the order you want.

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Your frames will have some sort of hanging mechanism on the back, probably a small triangle hook. Pencil in where you want the nail to go, and hammer in the nail (a flat hook against the wall will work better if you have the triangle hook attached to your frame). Hang and repeat.

Tip: If you have plaster walls like I do, place a piece of masking take over the penciled spot where you’re planning to hammer. It will prevent your walls from crumbling!

You did it! If you like this look, or use this tutorial, please leave me a comment or photo showing your progress! And if you want more posts like this, let me know in the comments.

Happy decorating!

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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There is SO much new drugstore makeup out, and even more coming. I cannot wait to try it all! Here are some things I have already tried and my first thoughts, and also some things I am waiting to get my hands on.

(P.S. I included a Tarte palette in this post because I couldn’t resist. Everything except that palette is from the drugstore!)

What new drugstore products have you tried lately? Have you loved any of them? Tell me in the comments!

NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

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I don’t have fully formed opinions on this product yet because I have only worn it for a few days– so far though, I really like this foundation! I found a near perfect color for me (light ivory) and it dries to a really velvety finish. I have been setting my T-zone with my Laura Mercier Brightening powder, but I’m not even sure I need to. This product makes my face look blurred, and I love that. I would say this is a medium coverage foundation, even with 6-8 drops. It says you can build it to full coverage, but I haven’t tried that just yet.

My only issue here is that I’m not sure about the staying power of this product. Of course, a good primer might fix that. So far, this is a keeper!

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Buy it here (via Ulta)

Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

This powder fascinates me. I haven’t tried it yet, but the colors look like they will give an absolutely gorgeous highlight (which everyone wants, right?) It comes in four different colors, ranging from a pink-toned powder to a bronze color. I have my eyes on the pink color, Afterglow, and the champagne color, Dayglow. This product looks like it has an almost creamy texture, which I think always looks so good for highlights. I can’t promise I won’t buy both. Have you tried this? Is it amazing?

Buy it here (via Milani )

Tarteist Pro Amazonian Clay Palette

I got this palette for Christmas and I fell in love with it immediately. The matte colors make it easy to have a subtle day look, and the four shimmery shades can easily make any look suitable for going out. I have used this palette alone and also with shades from Tartelette in Bloom– both create looks that are perfect. Some of my favorite shades in the pro palette are Innocent (peach), No filter (soft purple), Drama (maroon), and Profesh (tan). The colors have just a little fallout, so be careful when applying if you’ve already done foundation!

Buy it here (via Sephora)

Revlon Kiss Balm- Juicy Peach

For some reason, I really want to try this new lip product from Revlon. Maybe its just nostalgia, but the tinted lip balm crayon thing really makes me excited. While all the colors look cute, I want to grab the peach color! I think it could be so cute for spring, and also a much welcomed change from my Burt’s Bees lip balm. The description says this product is made with natural fruit oils and offers SPF 20 protection- two things I need for my dry lips!

PSA: Remember to wear SPF on your lips, too! Burnt lips aren’t fun, but they’re a very neglected part of our bodies when it comes to sun protection. Remember the SPF on your ears and the tops of your feet, too!

Buy it here (via Amazon)

Milani Prime Light & Prime Correct

Yes, more Milani. I can’t help it! They have so many great looking new things! These are two different primers that I am interested in. Prime Light is advertised as a light strobing and pore minimizing primer, which sounds like a dream. I have big pores around my nose that I am always trying to cover without clogging them, and this sounds like it could be my solution. Secondly, the Prime Correct primer is a green-tinted product that’s deigned to correct redness and reduce pore size, too. And both are oil free, which makes me happy!  I have redness in my cheeks that I would like to correct, but I also want the light strobing effect… decisions, decisions.

Buy it here and here (via Amazon and Milani)

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Kat Von D’s Shade and Light vs. NYX’s Highlight and Contour Pro

For the price difference, is the Shade and Light palette worth it?

With everyone and their grandmother contouring these days, there are so many products on the shelves in both drugstores and in Sephora. Youtube beauty vloggers have sworn by Shade and Light for more than a year now, but is it really worth it? NYX’s option is slightly harder to find (my Ulta was sold out for weeks), its much less expensive and comes with two more colors.  After using both palettes, I have thoughts.

Kat Von D: Shade & light

Let’s start with the high-end version. The Kat Von D Shade and Light palette will set you back $46 and comes with three highlight shades and three contour shades.

First, the things I love about this Shade and Light: The contour colors are incredibly soft and light. They almost come across looking blurred– which I love because my skin is so fair. Second, all the shades are incredibly blendable so you don’t have to worry about spending forever making sure you don’t have any harsh lines. I also really like the lightest highlight shade, and I put it over my under eye concealer for an extra pop of awake-ness.

While I love this palette, there are a few things I don’t like. First, the price. I held out on buying this for so long, but my lovely boyfriend bought it for me as a Christmas present after hearing me complain long enough. Second, while the contour shades work for me, I’m not sure how well they would work on someone with a darker complexion. Even the darkest shade isn’t really that dark. I am usually the first or second lightest in foundation shades, and even I can use two of Shade and Light’s contour shades.

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Top to bottom: Levitation, Lyric, Lucid

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The color payoff also is not amazing. That is good for me, because I would rather have to put on more product for a more dramatic look than risk going overboard on accident. Again, fair-skinned girls will like this about the palette.

While I like the pinky color for setting my under eye area, I am not super impressed by the other highlight shades. Personally I like a more shimmery highlight, and all of these colors are matte. Maybe one day I’ll try the other two colors, but I definitely don’t reach for them.

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NYX: Highlight & contour pro palette

NYX Highlight & Contour Pro Palette costs about $20 on Amazon ($25 at Ulta) and comes with four contour shades and four highlight shades. I got mine at Ulta, but I only found it after the third trip because they kept selling out! Some Target and CVS stores carry the palette, too.

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Top to bottom: Hollow, Sculpt, Toffee, Tan

I love the cool contour shade in this palette (the second one from the top in the swatches- hover above photos for names). It works to contour my cheekbones with still seeming sort of natural, without looking like I have a ton of makeup on. One main difference in these colors than in Kat Von D’s is that the NYX colors have a slight shimmer, while Kat Von D’s colors are matte. That totally depends on preference- I usually go for a shimmery blush and highlight, so I prefer a matte contour color.

The pigmentation on these colors is better than Shade and Light- you need less product to get the look you want. That is especially true for the highlight shades– I love the first highlight in this palette! It’s probably worth buying the palette just for that color, honestly.

There are some downfalls to this palette, though. First of all, I’ve found that most of the contour colors don’t really work for me. With the exception of one, I think the others are both too dark and too warm for my skin. In the Kat Von D palette, I can use two of the contour shades and they both look good, while only one in NYX works.

NYX’s shades are blendable, but not quite like Kat Von Ds. It takes a little longer to achieve a seamless look, and there is a decent amount of fallout with every shade. The color pots are also smaller, too.

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Overall, I like both palettes a lot. However, I reach for Kat Von D’s more. I think the colors there work for me better, and they are SO easy to blend. I am all about fast, and the quicker I can blend my makeup and get going, the better. Either one of these palettes is a good purchase, but I would definitely consider your skin tone before purchasing either, because that’s the key factor when it boils down to it.

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One of the first things people say when they walk into our house is that they love our living room– and they wonder how much it cost to decorate. When I tell them everything was bought secondhand or from a discount store, they don’t believe me! Your living room (or den, or family room…) is one of the most important rooms in your home, so make sure you spend time making it a place you will enjoy being in. Here is a run-down of my living room, and how I snagged such great deals on everything!

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PILLOWS

Pillows are life. Just kidding- but they’re pretty important. Adding some funky pillows onto your sofa or chairs will give your room a warm, lived-in vibe, while still looking put together. (Tip: If you have dogs like I do, make sure all of your pillows have a cover that can be zipped off and washed!)

Some of my favorite places to snag great pillows are stores like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning. Another great option is IKEA, where you can buy the pillow stuffing for just a few dollars and then choose multiple covers that you can mix and match. I found my tapestry-looking covers at a salvage store nearby!

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Browse some similar to mine here or here 

SOFA

So, here’s the deal on my sofa… It was free. A friend of a friend of my mom’s was interested in buying a new sofa but needed to get their old one out immediately. We heard about their situation through word of mouth and they said if we picked it up that day, then we could have it for free… And you better believe we were there within minutes.

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While we lucked out on that, many social media sites have outlets for people to trade or sell furniture for super marked down prices. If you offer to pick it up that day, you’ll usually find people are much more willing to work with you on prices.

IKEA has a similar couch, if you would rather go that route for a similar style

COFFEE TABLE

Let me tell you, this gem is heavy. Dang heavy. The wrought iron base has a great, almost gold rub on it and the glass top is thick and has a beveled edge. This table came from… wait for it… a yard sale. More like a charity sale, but you get the picture. Probably the best $15 I’ve ever spent, and it will last us a lifetime. When you see those annoying flyers on your car for the local charity sale this weekend, it might be worth checking out.

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Check out all the thrift stores near you! America’s Best is one of my personal favorites

BOOKS, PHOTOS, DVDS & MEMENTOS

Everyone has those little things that mean a lot to them, but no where to show them off. Our built-in shelves are the perfect spot for showing off your belongings and also having a neat place to store them. I did some Pinterest hunting on how to style a book shelf (it’s harder than you think!) and went to town. (Get my inspiration here!)

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Featured are some of my favorite cookbooks, DVDs we may never watch again, and family photos. The iguana was from one of my boyfriend’s fraternity adventures in college, and for some reason it’s meaningful to him… I don’t ask questions.

Books available on Amazon (you need Chrissy Teigen’s book immediately), iguanas are probably available but do you really need to know?

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I survived the southern snow storm of 2017! However, because of icy road conditions, my blog post for this week went a little haywire (I left my camera at my boyfriend’s house, and I can’t get there!) so that post will be up next week.

For this week, I’m going to show you the winter fashion trends I am loving or those I can’t wait to try. Below are items that I want/need in my closet, and why I can’t wait to embrace the trend.

A new year calls for new clothes, right?

Bomber Jackets

I’ve always had a thing for short jackets, because they show off my long torso. I am SO happy bomber jackets are back in style because they are typically short and also keep you warm- something that can be hard to pull off while looking on trend. You can’t go wrong with an olive or army-green jacket; but, because I have two army-green jackets, I am thinking of snagging a black one à la GiGi Hadid.

Try this one (via H&M) or this one

Tote Purses

By this point I think everyone knows that Santa brought me the best Christmas present in the form of a Louis Vuitton tote. I am all about big purses, because you can throw literally anything you need into it and run out the door. My new LV is slightly too big for a purse (even for me) but it’s perfect for throwing my laptop and chargers in for work or when I’m working on something and have to run out for coffee, a meeting, etc. It’s basically life.

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I also love the Madewell totes that come in different colors and shapes with monograms; and Target always has great, colorful bags for your computer. This trend is not only cute- but functional, too.

This is one of my favorites– try the studded version, too! (via Madewell) And these reversible options are great because… reversible. (via Nordstrom)

Over the Knee Boots

Okay, okay, I think everyone is on this trend now… but seriously, what is cooler than OTK boots? You can make this look dressy or casual and take it into the spring with a flowy dress. Lots of these boots are expensive (think Free People, Sam Edelman, Marc Fisher) but you can snag can inexpensive pair (like I did from Forever 21) that will do the trick.

Tip: Before you buy, make sure you do a through walk around the store- I bought a pair two years ago that were not cheap, but when I got home and wore them I could hardly bend my knee. I sold them on Poshmark, but you get the picture.

These are similar to the ones I bought (via Forever 21)

Similar ones here, without heel and in more colors (via Amazon)

Off the Shoulder Sweaters

I can’t get enough of this season’s off the shoulder look. I bought the cutest sweater from my friend Peyton’s online boutique and it is one of my favorite purchases! It can be worn on or off the shoulder, which I love.

When looking at these, a chunky material will keep you warm and make up for the heat lost on your bare shoulders. Careful with buying one too small- if your sweater is too tight, it can quickly look cheap. Try these in neutral colors that you can wear into the spring with ripped jeans and booties.

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Buy mine here, or get it in burgundy! (via ThirtyOne Boutique)

Or this one here (via Amazon)

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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