Looking Grand for Less

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“Who says you have to spend a fortune to look like a million bucks? It definitely wasn’t Vanessa Culpepper.” You got that right! That’s what Tracy James wrote about me in the latest Look Grand for Less ad for The Outlet Shops of Grand River in B-Metro Magazine (June).

I am grateful to have been chosen as a recent shopper for the monthly challenge. I got to see what I could get for $250. How exciting, right?! Some people may take the opportunity of getting “free” shopping money to splurge on something they may not normally buy. Not me. I like to stretch my dollars even if they aren’t coming from my bank account!

Everything I bought is featured in this one-page spread. I also added a list of the items with their prices (rounded to next dollar, taxes not included).

  • yellow dress, Forever 21: $17
  • striped midi skirt, Forever 21: $17.50
  • kimono, Forever 21: $5
  • tan purse, Nine West: $25
  • white purse, Banana Factory: $32
  • burgundy moto jacket, Banana Factory: $27
  • gladiator sandals, Charlotte Russe: $41 (promo- buy one get one $10)
  • fringe heels, Charlotte Russe: $10 (promo- buy one get one $10)
  • yellow sweater, Gap: $9

Considering I had previously committed to not shopping until I wore everything in my closet, it didn’t take long for me to wear my new digs! Here’s a look at how I’ve styled the items in my day-to-day life:

 
 
I still had some money left over, as you can probably tell, so I plan on getting some new tennis shoes! Not too exciting, but mine are so tired looking, I think it will definitely help put a pep in my step at the gym!

I know I’m a little late posting this, but to get a closer look at the ad and all of the other fabulous spreads in B-Metro Magazine, be sure to pick up the June issue! Time is running out!

As always, thanks for reading!!

Party of Five

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I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but when I actually looked at my last blog post and saw it was published three months ago, I was kind of shocked at just how long it’s been!

But here I am! Back from an unexpected, unannounced break… with some pretty big news! My family is going to be a party of five! I’m now in my second trimester and things have been going well so far. As with my first two children, there hasn’t been any morning sickness/nausea. I really got lucky in that department!

I was a little concerned about one thing. My husband and I were in Puerto Rico shortly after conception and if you keep abreast with current events, you may know there are Zika concerns there. So, I did have to get tested for the virus which can cause birth defects. Luckily, the results came back negative!

Despite the Zika concerns, I did put a little thought into a pregnancy announcement. It’s something that wasn’t that big of a deal when my first two children were conceived (ages 9 and 5), so this was really my first attempt at something cute. Of course, I hit up Pinterest and asked some friends for ideas and finally decided on this:

babe

Since there are two boys and two girls in the family, I decided on a “tie-breaker” theme. The inspiration I saw on Pinterest only involved the kids holding the signs, but I wanted to include all of us, so it was an easy adjustment to make.

Yes, there are some glares on the frame and yes, my hair is a little crazy and no, the quality isn’t professional grade…but I am pretty happy with the results! It’s been my most-liked picture on Instagram and on my personal Facebook page this year, so I’d say it was a success!

A lot of people may put a lot of effort into their announcements and get a professional photographer, but I am cheap! Here’s what my “photo session” entailed:

  • four frames from Dollar Tree ($4)
  • sidewalk chalk from my kids
  • construction paper from Dollar Tree ($1)
  • giant balloons from Party City ($5 for a pack of balloons, $6 to have two blown up)
  • flowers that were already given to me for my anniversary, in a vase I already had

So, the total cost was about $16!

I just took a sheet of black construction paper, wrote my tie-breaker tallies in chalk and framed each one. I also added the framed ultrasound with yellow construction paper as the background.

We were in such a rush to get the picture taken, we honestly took them in about ten minutes before church on the church grounds! Craziness. My husband propped his cell phone on a fence railing and set the timer. We plopped ourselves on the ground, held the balloons and “cheesed” for a couple of shots before realizing none of us was smiling with our eyes open and looking at the camera at the same time. So, my husband came up with the great idea for all of us just to make a surprised face. Boom! One take with that pose and that’s the pic we decided to use!

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through this long hiatus! I guess you can expect some maternity posts in the near future! Let me know if there are any subjects you want me to cover in particular! Again, thank you for your continued support and I can’t wait to share the rest of this new journey with you all!

XOXO ~Vanessa

 

 

Four W’s of White Jeggings

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I collaborated with Pulse online boutique for this post, but all opinions are my own.

I admit, I’ve never owned a pair of jeggings. I came close to getting a pair when I did a review on Gap jeans last year, but I never bit the bullet.

Cut to this year and I’m now a jeggings owner! Pulse online boutique asked me to style their white jeggings in different ways and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity. I’m all about wearing things multiple times to get more bang for the buck. They can be styled countless ways, but I decided to put together four looks that showcase how they can be worn in different facets of life.

Weekend: I think these pants lend themselves for natural weekend wear. They’re perfect for lunch with friends or a casual date night! I paired them with this coral off-the-shoulder top (also from Pulse) and accessorized with a turquoise necklace in my closet. It’s one of my favorite color combinations for spring/summer. I wore neutral lace-up heels and added a little animal print clutch for a little edge!   

 Work: Jeggings for work?! What?! I wanted to prove it’s possible. Obviously, most bosses would frown upon tight pants without complete back coverage, so I wanted to make sure my cheeks were kept in check! I paired the jeggings with an on-trend long, sleeveless vest and black pumps.  

   
Wind down: Jeggings are probably best for a casual, laid back look. So, for a day when you get to just chill or even if you have to run around with your munchkins, these are ideal! I threw on a denim button-down and slipped in some neutral loafers for a day with my kids. I really wanted to pair my straw fedora with this look, but I left it at home!  

   
Winter: Don’t forget, you can even pull these off in the winter! I loved pairing the white jeggings with neutral, tan tones and winter white. Plus, they’re perfect tucked into OTK boots, right?!  

   
Now, keep this in mind when going for a white hot look: 

Wear flesh-colored underwear! If your skin is brown, wear brown undergarments. If your skin is tan, wear tan. Some people may think, white pants=white underwear. Nope! I’ve yet to meet a truly “white” person, so white underwear will only create a clear and distracting distinction between your skin and the undergarment. Your best bet is to go with flesh-toned…even if you wear a thong. The outline of a white thong will still show front/back.

Also, cover the backside! Long gone are my days of a ripple- and dimple-free backside and legs. So I want to make sure ALL of that THAT is spared from public view. I would not be wearing white jeggings with anything tucked in or cropped! I follow the same rule of thumb even for black leggings. 

If you want to try the Jeggings, click here. They’re reasonably priced at $28! They are snug, but definitely stretch out over time so I would be hesitant to size up as the website directs. I’m 5’8″ 145 pounds and got a Medium! 

Also, if you love the off-the-shoulder trend as much as I do, here is the link for the Brooke ruffle top. The length is absolutely perfect over Jeggings! 

If none of that floats your boat, be sure to check out Pulse for other summer options! They have super cute looks at affordable prices!! 

As always, thanks for reading! 

 

Prime Time + giveaway

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You know I’ve given up shopping until I’ve worn everything in my closet once, right? Well, ya know what? That frees up a lot of finances! I figure I can try to “up” my beauty game with some of the money I usually use to fill my closet. 

My makeup bag is lacking a LOT to say the least, because as I’ve said before, I’m low-to-no maintenance. 

Enter my friend Lesley who recently started selling Younique products. She started posting pictures and videos using products on her Facebook page. And, of course, I’m impressed! She’s already gorgeous as it is, but you could really see what kind of an impact this stuff has on her! 

I REALLY wanted to try the BB Cream that people rave about so much, but it was sold out at the time. I decided to try the primer instead. A makeup artist I know said she swears by primer for a smooth application and for bringing out the color of your makeup better, so I figured, why not?

  

I finally used it this week and I could definitely tell a difference in my makeup application and the end result! 

It went on really lightly and smoothly. You only need a tiny dot to cover half of your face so it didn’t feel heavy at all. 

I put it on half of my face and used no primer on the other side. The rest of my makeup consists of Bare Minerals powder, eyeliner, neutral eye shadow and mascara. 

 I’m not sure if you can tell which side has primer on it in my picture, but I asked my husband if he could tell and he answered correctly without hesitation! (Primer is on the right side of the above picture)

I said, “how could you tell?!” And he said the primer side was noticeably smoother. Hey, if my husband notices a smoothness, it’s worth continuing to use in my book!  (I know, the under eye bags and circles are a topic for another day! I plan on adding concealer and a real foundation to my beauty routine soon!)

You may notice a difference in my eyelashes as well. 

 On one eye, I used the famous Younique 3D fiber lashes I blogged about before. The other eye has Chanel Le Volume mascara on it. Honestly, when I tried the Chanel mascara, I LOVED it. I still do! But in comparison, it still doesn’t offer the length and volume the Younique mascara offers. And they’re about the same price! Plus, I already know Younique stays put until you wash it with face wash/soap and water. Then there are no raccoon eyes when you get out of the shower! 

So, if you want to try Younique’s 3D mascara, you’re in luck!! 

  
Lesley was kind enough to offer one to give away! 

To enter:

The contest ends Friday, April 1st at 11:59 PM CST. 

The winner will be announced on our Facebook pages!! 

Thanks for reading and good luck!!!

Shawl Versatility + Pink Blush Giveaway

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The poncho, shawl, ruana…call it what you want. I love all of the above! 

So, when I had an opportunity to collaborate with Pink Blush for this post, I ultimately decided to feature their colorblock shawl! (Unfortunately, it’s now sold out but they have other amazing deals!)

The shawl is such an easy way to elevate an outfit! I’m all about simplicity with a punch and this piece fits the bill. I can keep my base outfit pretty basic, but the colors and the block pattern really make the outfit pop!  

    
 But don’t think just because it’s a cover up that it’s strictly for fall/winter. I’ll be featuring a  spring-appropriate styling option soon! That’s when I’ll also announce the winner of a $50 gift card to Pink Blush! 

Say what?! Yes! A $50 gift card to Pink Blush! They have such a great selection of clothes at affordable prices, you’ll definitely be able to find something cute!

Here is how to enter  (Be sure to leave your name, email and your method of entries in the comments so I can verify your eligibility!)

-Subscribe to buddingfashionista.com

For two bonus entries: 

-Follow budding fashionista on Facebook

-Follow Pink Blush on Facebook

Giveaway ends Wednesday, March 2nd. Winner announced Friday, March 4th.

We have a Pink Blush $50 gift card winner! Congrats to Laura Mueller! She was randomly chosen among qualifying entrants. Laura, you should receive an email with more details in the coming days!

Thanks for reading and Good Luck!! 

Closet Control (no shopping challenge)

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You may remember, a couple of years ago around this time, I vowed to go six months without shopping and without repeating any outfits. The purpose was to cut back after spending way too much during the holidays. I like to think it was a success!

I’m hoping to see success with a new wardrobe mission I’ve tortured challenged myself with: no shopping until I’ve worn everything in my closet at least once!

The reason for this, in a nutshell, is I realized I don’t have enough room for all of my clothes! I know. First world problems, right? Here’s a peek into some of the closet chaos:

stacks upon stacks of sweaters (that I did not even attempt to straighten for this post)

 

skirts, blazers, pants

 

dresses

 

tops

This is the majority of it all, but there are still things strewn around my home that I haven’t been able to squeeze in due to lack of space or lack of hangers! Now, let me be clear, part of the reason for a lack of storage is that I don’t store any of my clothes when seasons change. I like to leave all of my clothes accessible because the weather is so unpredictable in the South!

That being said, I honestly don’t think this is a lot compared to some of my blogging counterparts who have entire rooms converted to closets!

So, how do I plan on going through things accurately? I admit, this is all still a work in progress for me, but I plan to follow these three steps:

  1. Clean out my closet. I bought the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I’ve heard it will transform your mindset about organization as well as change your outlook on life! I’m still reading it, but tips include removing everything from your closet, touching every article of clothing and getting rid of it if it doesn’t bring you joy (if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t bring you joy; if it’s faded, it doesn’t bring you joy; if it doesn’t match anything, it doesn’t bring you joy). On the bright side, I can consign some of the items I don’t intend to keep and make some extra dinero!
  2. Take stock. While I get rid of things that don’t bring me joy, I’ll also keep a tally of how many tops, skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, sweaters, blazers, etc. I keep. This will remind me of my inventory and help me in strategic outfit planning, i.e. I know I’ll need to wear as many heavy-duty sweaters soon before Spring is officially here!
  3. Shift/Check it. You may have seen tips on Pinterest to turn your hangers in an opposite direction once you’ve worn an item. Hangers facing every which way would drive me CRAZY! So, I just plan on shifting worn articles to another area within that stretch of closet space. As much as I will kind of hate the disorganized flow, at least it will keep my worn/unworn clothing somewhat divided. For items not on hangers, I’ll notate having worn them on my “take stock” tally.

Of course, I’ll continue to document my looks on Facebook and Instagram. So, be sure to follow along to see how I try to keep things fresh! One thing I learned during my previous “no shopping challenge,” was I seem to be more creative when I’m forced to use what I already have. So, I’m hoping this challenge will do the same!

Want to join me?! If you feel like you’ve been in a rut or if you stare at a closet overstuffed with clothes or you just need to save money (hello, that’s me every day!), feel free to take part in the journey as well! I’ll be using the hashtag Closet Control (#closetcontrol) on social media if you’d like to share how you’re keeping your closet in check!

If you don’t want to commit to wearing your entire closet, maybe just commit to wearing all of your tops before buying a new one. Or all of your dresses. You get the picture.

Wish me luck! And as always, thanks for reading!

 

Sleeveless Dress Struggles 

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I can be a lazy dresser. That’s why I gravitate toward dresses a lot! It’s one and done…for the most part. But now that it’s colder, it’s tougher to find cute, affordable, and most importantly, WARM dresses for winter! For some reason, retailers keep cranking out sleeveless winter dresses. What’s up with that?!

I came across the struggle recently, while doing some winter sale shopping. I found a great deal on a Banana Republic dress in a winter material for only $12 (sold out)! But alas, no sleeves! So, what’s a girl to do? Layer! And I get to share the end result with you in my first blogger photo shoot! Thanks to Tosha Gaines for the great shots!

Vanessa-5

My first layering attempt included a white button-down, but I looked too much like a schoolgirl. And at the ripe old age of 36, it wasn’t hitting me baby, one more time! Ya know what I’m saying?! Britney Spears knows what I’m saying.

So, I decided to regroup and adopt the KISS methodology:  keep it simple, stupid. A long sleeve black t-shirt ended up working nicely and is much more comfy than a stuffy old button down.

Vanessa-11

The layering continued with a red coat I got from Banana Republic Factory about 10 years ago! I added tights and trusty old knee boots and voila! A quick and easy way to avoid freezing in a sleeveless frock!

Vanessa-19

I happened to be wearing the ensemble during another trip to my second home (Banana Republic) and the associate even complimented how I styled it! That’s always a “win” in my book! What are your favorite ways to look cute and work appropriate at the same time? I’d love to get your feedback!

One more shout out to Tosha Gaines photography for such a fun mini-photo session! If you’re looking for lifestyle or family pictures, be sure to check her out!

Thanks for reading!