20 To the Max

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Here we are again! Another budget/style challenge! I was looking through old blog posts and realized last year, my goal was to not shop until I wore everything in my closet at least once. Well, I got pregnant soon after that and the challenge ended faster than you can say “baby number 3.”

So, now that the baby is here and we’ve (kind of) settled into a new house, I figure I need to keep my shopping budget on a REALLY tight leash! Enter the “20 to the Max” challenge.

It’s pretty self explanatory: a personal clothes/shoes shopping budget of $20 a month. There are no rollover dollars. If you don’t spend it, you lose it. You CAN use existing gift cards, store credits or store rewards.

In the past, I have found shopping challenges allow me to really stretch the way I style what’s already in my closet, so I’m hoping the same creative juices start flowing.

The month of April is already over, but I plan to continue for three months total! So, if you want to join along, feel free! Use the hashtag #20tothemax on social media to show how you’ve spent your money. 

For the month of April, I bought a $7.56 tank and $7.56 sunglasses–both from Old Navy. 

I actually bought the tank earlier in the month for $12 but was uncertain about keeping it. Then a couple of weeks later, the same top was discounted even more, plus I got to use Super Cash, which brought it down to the $7 price range. (I’ll be returning the one I purchased for $12)

The sunnies were on promotion for $10 and my Super Cash also brought the price down. 

The only thing I regret about the 20 To The Max challenge this month: not spending my full $20!! Old Navy even had $2 tanks the day I was there and I wanted to go back and get a couple, but my kids were with me and they are the world’s best shopping prevention, lemme tell ya! 

As for the month of May, who knows what I’ll get! I’m going to try to do a post featuring items I wish I could buy right now! 

Until then, thanks for reading!! 




Striped Turtleneck Staple

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Do you have a striped black and white turtleneck in your closet? If not, get one. Yesterday. During some after Thanksgiving shopping, I bought this one from Old Navy for a whopping $8. Unfortunately, it’s sold out now, but I found this one from Macy’s for $14.99.

I never realized how much I was missing! I actually have a black and white striped t-shirt, but this turtleneck has quickly become my go-to piece. It’s seriously a game-changer. I’m not even a huge fan of turtlenecks because I don’t like my neck and I think they typically emphasize my double chin! BUT…this style is a thin, lightweight version that doesn’t ride up too high or graze one of my least favorite features.

I’ve worn it by itself and as a layering piece. A lot!


If you still need convincing or if you just need some styling inspiration, here are some pics I found on Pinterest and shared on “My Pinterest Closet” board. Notice, I’ve already used some as inspiration and full intend to recreate all of these looks!

source: http://crystalinmarie.com/camel-black-stripes/


Know what I found while pinning? Some of these images are years old! That just goes to show you how classic and versatile this piece is! (Unless that just means I have outdated style! whomp whomp!) Do you already have a striped turtleneck? What’s your favorite way to style it? I’d love to see new ideas!

As always, thanks for reading!




“House” It Going? 

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Long time, no post, right?! As much as I hoped I’d be blogging more, it’s like I can’t seem to catch up with life! But I had to share this post with you because it’s a giveaway for all my Birmingham-area friends! 

Standby for details. 

First, you may or may not have known that my family and I welcomed our newborn on the same day we closed on our new house! Yes, it was an insanely crazy time to say the least. So you understand why getting settled has been a slow-going process. We aren’t anywhere near finished. Mind you, we moved from a two-bedroom townhome to a five bedroom house, so filling it up is going to take lots of time and dinero. And last I checked, money trees weren’t included with the property!

Here is a shot of the new abode! 

Since we moved in, I’ve been a lot more interested in…ok, obsessed with… home decor! 

We got new living room furniture, but still need an area rug and accessories. This is where we are so far. 

We still need to do something about that obnoxious tv cable! At least it’s functional and the furniture is cozy! Also, forgive the lighting discrepancy. Life happens and I didn’t have time to take all of the pics in the daytime! 

As for the kitchen, I know white is all the rage right now, but granite and dark cabinets came with the house and I still love the style. But because it is on the darker side, I’m trying to keep everything else lighter. It’s still pretty bare bones, though. We need to get appropriate-sized counter stools, which will be an ivory or oatmeal color. And wall art will be in lighter tones, too. 

Our dining room is what it is. We bought the dining set from a friend for $50!! It works well in the space, but eventually I want to get a round table with more luxe seating. 

I’ve included some “pinspiration” of what I’d like it to become eventually! I can dream, can’t I?! 

As for the rest of the house–the office, guest/media room, master and kids’ rooms are all way too incomplete to even bother showing you! But I’ll try to update you as things progress!! 

In the meantime, you can bet your next mortgage payment I’ll be pinning away for more ideas! You can follow me on Pinterest here. I’m also hoping to get some inspiration from The Birmingham Home Show

Enter the giveaway! 

I’m giving away four family passes–that’s four sets of 4 tickets!

The Birmingham Home Show lasts from February 16-19th at the BJCC. It is jam packed with seminars, outdoor and living ideas and tips, home improvement and design ideas as well as the hottest new products. You can get more details by clicking this link. 

 To enter for a family pass, all you have to do is comment below and tell me what room you love to decorate most! The first four comments win!! 

Good luck! And as always, thanks for reading! 

What I Wore to BFW 2016

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Apologies for how late this is, but if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably know what I wore to Birmingham Fashion Week. But I didn’t really share many details.

I was only able to attend two nights, so I went with pretty different styles..both on a budget, of course!

The first night, I opted for a boho look. I was just perusing the mall and saw the dress in Old Navy’s sale section for $18. But they didn’t have my size. Did you know many stores can check a computer database to see if they are supposed to have what you need or to see if a nearby store has it? So, I marched right to the cashier and asked for a “merchandise locator.” It showed the store I was in was actually supposed to have one! So, I poked around and found it hanging with the non-maternity version! It may not be the most fashion forward, but it’s on trend and I was on a time crunch. I added an $8 multi-strand choker from Forever 21 and a straw clutch I have had for probably ten years. My shoes were caged sandals–a $10 clearance find from Target last year. Ideally, I would’ve made more of an effort to make my hair more wavy, but I was late and I threw in a couple of small braids in my hair and called it a day!

Moral of the story: if you see something you like at a price point you like, don’t give up on it! It could actually be right around the corner!

For the final night, I went a little more glam! I actually didn’t buy anything new at all for this look! I wore a non-maternity pencil skirt (see my post about its versatility!), an old Gap maternity tank I’ve had since my last pregnancy (and still wear even while not pregnant!) and some sort of ruffly shrug I got on super clearance from some fancy store in Atlanta that was going out of business. I accessorized with a red Rebecca Minkoff envelope clutch I got last year (on clearance, of course) and Schutz animal print heels I got when my beloved Piperlime was still in business!


Moral of the story: don’t discount your own closet when getting ready for a special occasion! You may actually surprise yourself!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo vanessa





For the New and Not-so-new Moms

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Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media, but all opinions expressed are my own.
Most of you know, I’m expecting baby #3, but it’s been a while since I’ve experienced pregnancy–six years to be exact! I can’t even believe how much products have changed in that seemingly short amount of time. That’s why I was pretty stoked to receive this box of goodies from BabbleBoxx that will come in handy as a third-time new mom!

I was most excited to receive this camera because most of my pictures are taken on my phone and I don’t usually print off physical copies from my mobile device. With the INSTAX Mini 70 camera, I’m able to snap pics and see the copies instantly! It’s perfect for moms who don’t want to deal with the hassle of leaving the home for copies, but still want to capture those memorable moments in a way that can be displayed. I foresee many photo collages in my future!
The camera features a selfie mode, prints take under 90 seconds. Plus, for all of you stylish moms out there, you can pick from several cute colors: Canary Yellow, Moon White, Island Blue, Passion Red, Midnight Black and Stardust Gold.
They’re $139.95 withINSTAX Mini Instant film sold separately for $19.95 for a
double pack with 20 exposures. Get more details here.
Gerber® Onesies® brand one piece underwear:
This is tried and true as a new mom staple! When I hear the word Gerber, I automatically think of reliable and trusted baby products. They have been around for generations and I used the onesies for both of my other children. They’re perfect for layering on days out and wearing solo for lazy days at home! They also come in cute prints that can make a fashion statement on their own! Plus, they’re affordable and readily available at most retailers.
If you want to try it out, Gerber is offering budding fashionista readers an in-store coupon available here.
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste – Original Formula & Maximum Strength Formula:
This is another tried and true product! I was so happy this was included in the box because it’s already a favorite product of mine and one I always recommend to new moms who are looking for diaper creams. I love the smell and it’s not greasy at all. Most importantly, it’s effective. It is fast acting and really does prevent diaper rash. I used it for almost every diaper change and we never had major diaper rash experiences, thank goodness! I actually never had to use the Maximum Strength Formula because the original was always effective for us! Plus, for the chemical conscious mom, the products are free from Parabens, Preservatives, Dyes, Phthalates and Talc.
This is another new product that I’m excited about! Thermometers have changed SO much since my last baby. TempTraq® is the only wearable Bluetooth® temperature monitor that continuously monitors body temperature for up to 24 hours. You can get temperature readings sent straight to your Apple® or Android™ mobile devices! That means, no waking a baby or poking and prodding them for a temperature read every few hours! It is a single-use product, so I think it would be perfect to have handy for unexpected illnesses that will require pretty consistent monitoring. The TempTraq is $19.99 and you can find it at  Target, CVS and Walgreens. If you order at TempTraq.com, use the code BABBLEBOXX10 for a 10% discount. Offer Expires October 31, 2016.
Rainbow Light – 35+ Mom & Baby:
It’s VITAL for new moms to take care of themselves, so this product will be a must for me. It’s a pre- and postnatal multivitamin created specially for Moms aged 35+. Yup. I fit in that demographic! The multivitamin ensures you and your baby get the best nutrition. It promotes healthy circulation and normal blood sugar levels, soothes muscle discomforts and manage energy/stress levels. This is speaking to me on so many levels as a mom who has an oftentimes high-stress job and who has had two glucose test scares! If you’re pregnant later in the game (like me!) try Rainbow Light for 20% off using the code HappyBaby.
As I’ve gotten older, I have noticed my hair just isn’t as shiny as it used to be, so I’m excited to try this care system. The products are natural, healthy and safe for women and even babies! This three-step system can be used to “detox your locks” every day or as a pampering hair and scalp cleanse. The products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. Guess what? You can try it with a 40% discount! Click here and enter promo code “44BUDDINGFASHIONISTA” at checkout. Offer expires 10/31/2016.
Have you tried any of these products yet? Let me know what you think!
And as always, thanks for reading!

Birmingham Fashion Week 2016 

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Birmingham, Alabama may not be the fashion capital of anywhere.
Still, as someone who can’t whisk away to New York Fashion week, Birmingham Fashion Week is something I look forward to every year. And I’m sad to say, the curtain may be closing on the entire production.

For the past six years, it’s all been thanks to the founders Heidi Elnora and Jeana Lee Thompson. They have VOLUNTEERED their time to make it happen. They have put their sweat, tears, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they bled a little, to make this fashion magic happen. But putting on multiple shows ain’t cheap. So, Heidi and Jeana are looking for someone to fully sponsor it! If no one steps up, we will have to bid it adieu. In the meantime, I can just look back on another (and hopefully, not final) fabulous year!

Heidi Elnora closed out the three-day event with her gorgeous bridal collection. The show started with a Cirque du Soleil-type performance before the models started filing down the runway. Budding super model Baskin Champion was the line leader (I’m sure there’s a runway term for that, but hey, it’s the mom in me coming out!). It ended with Prince’s Purple Rain” and on the last beat of the song, the show ended with a pyrotechnics and a shower of gold streamers. It was pretty breathtaking. Heidi knows how to put on a show!

Other designers included Abbey Glass

Alice and Trixie

and Hale BobBenjamin JayCharles Ellis Sartorial.. Rails… and by Smith.

Local retailers also featured ready-to-wear looks. The world’s first super model with Down Syndrome, Madeline Stuart, actually opened the show for Pretty Wolf.

The Clothes Tree was one of my fave runway retailers!

Here are some looks from fab’rik Birmingham. Always a fun place to shop!

Other retailers include Alchemy 213, Gus Mayer and  Tom James.

A big part of what Birmingham Fashion Week is about, is recognizing young talent and giving aspiring designers an outlet to show off their creations. There are two competitions: one for emerging designers at the collegiate level and another for middle/high school designers who use unconventional materials to create high fashion looks. Winners are awarded scholarships/monetary prizes!

This was last year’s emerging designer winner:

These were a few of my favorite finalists from this year:

Another fun part of fashion week is choosing what to wear! I admit, being five months pregnant presented quite the challenge! But I’ll be posting how I tried to come up with fashion-forward maternity looks soon!

Hopefully, you can see why Birmingham Fashion Week is important to my community. It’s just another way to give us fashion lovers of all ages a way to celebrate creativity and style! I would hate for this to be my last BFW post, but if this does end up being the last year, I guess that will leave me with no choice than to make it to New York!! ;

As always, thanks for reading!


The Most Bang with a Bump

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The thought of buying a new wardrobe that will be worn for less than 9 months is not appealing to this bargain shopper.

So, what’s a pregnant woman to do? Make the most of what you already have!

I’m pregnant with my third child (insert “Home Alone” face). And if people say you show a lot quicker with your second baby, I think it’s safe to say you show even faster after that! I thought, since it’s been six years since I was last pregnant, maybe my body forgot what it’s like to carry a child and I could go 5 months before I really start to show. Um, the body apparently doesn’t forget.

So, I broke down and bought a few sale maternity pieces pretty quickly, but I still wanted to stretch my existing wardrobe. In the next few blog posts, I’ll show you how I’ve done it so far!

Basically, these will be key pieces you need to bring to the forefront of your closet. Or pieces you may want to go ahead and invest in (and wear now!) if baby making is in your future.

To kick off this series, I’ll first focus on the ever-classic pencil skirt! But not just any pencil skirt. You can kiss those zippers good-bye! Invest in some elastic!

I used to think it was the material that old lady waistbands were made of. Well, call me an old lady, because the stretchy savior has been my maternity go-to.

These are a few that have served me well these past few months and of course, even before this baby was even a twinkle in the eye!

You can’t tell really well in this picture, but I already had a small bump here and I was only about 4 weeks pregnant. The Old Navy skirt is mid-calf length and I hiked it up over the bump, so it was still below the knee. (top is old Forever 21, shoes are old Charlotte Russe, necklace is Piperlime [rip]).


Another 4 week bump shot. Still barely noticeable to others, but I definitely needed elastic! The Vince Camuto skirt was $16 from Nordstrom Rack last year. (top is old Forever 21, blazer is old Banana Republic, necklace is Purple Peridot, shoes similar are Charlotte Russe)


Here’s another $10 goodie from Old Navy, embracing my 3-month bump. The black tank really helps camouflage the bump, but it was definitely noticeable at this point! I was able to keep the waistband below the bump. (kimono is Forever 21 Outlet,  tank is old Gap Maternity, necklace is Kendra Scott, shoes are old Target)

pencil skirt 2

$10 is my magic number for pencil skirts, apparently! Here’s another pencil skirt from Old Navy. This top is also non-maternity and was the first time I have worn it. I’m about 4 months along here. (tank is Banana Republic, shoes are madden girl via DSW)pencil skirt 1

More recently, I wore the same black pencil skirt to Birmingham Fashion Week. I am 5 months along. I’ll share more details for this outfit soon! 

What’s great about the stretchy pencil skirt, is you can hike it up over your belly and it will usually still be long enough to be work appropriate. But you can also sling it below the bump to keep that length!

Stay tuned for the next post on a maternity friendly “non-maternity” must-have!

As always, thanks for reading!!