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!!




Dewberry Delight

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Disclosure: I collaborated with Linda’s Dewberry Lotion for this post, but all opinions are my own. 

My 25th birthday is coming up for the 12th time, so it’s no secret this skin I’m in doesn’t look the same as it did a decade ago. So, when I was approached to give Linda’s Dewberry Lotion a try, I figured “what do I have to lose?” It’s an age-defying product, after all!


I wasn’t asked to use it for a certain length of time, so I can’t speak to the effectiveness of defying age, but I can vouch for its other qualities! It touts itself as non-greasy, non-clogging, made of plant-based oils and made without parabens and alcohol. Also, no testing on animals, so that’s always a plus! It’s also gluten free if that’s something that is a health concern. There are a ton of other positive attributes in the product’s formula. I won’t go into too much detail, but you can learn more about it here.

You want to know if it lives up to its own hype, amiright?!

I, for one, am a fan! It goes on smoothly and absorbs relatively quickly. My husband actually put it on my legs the first time I tried it (I’m 5 months pregnant, it was the least he could do!) and he actually wasn’t a fan because he didn’t feel a lot of the residue that some other products leave behind. So he thought he had to use MORE of the product. After I used it myself, I found that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I only used a small squirt to cover the desired surface area because it’s actually pretty thick. It covered a lot of ground!

I tried to do a before/after shot of the product’s effects on my legs, but my camera (um, iphone) just couldn’t capture all of the flakiness going on.

Here’s the attempted before (I promise, there is a lot of dry skin you can’t see!):

and the after:

So, I tried on my arms! Now we’re talking! I actually forgot to put sunscreen while out for an extended period of time the other day (shame on me!), and my right arm was more exposed to the sun and got sunburned. 😦 Now, it’s flaking and pretty gross. So, Dewberry to the rescue!

Before (i know, it’s bad!):

And after:

Of course, most lotions will appear to show an instant result, but I just love the bonus of how it goes on and what this product is made of. There is no mineral oil, which I’ve read is actually a pretty poor choice for re-hydration and can even lead to drier skin and even progress aging! Yikes! Just google it to judge mineral oil for yourself.

Dewberry is even gentle enough to use on your face. I was skeptical at first, but I did dab some on my freshly washed face and it did not feel heavy at all.

It’s also pretty odorless. It claims to have a light, fresh scent, but even my pregnancy nose could hardly detect a fragrance, which means it won’t clash with your favorite perfume!

So what about the price?

At $16.95 for a 4oz. bottle, it won’t break the bank and would even make a great gift! And like I said, a little goes a long way. But of course, I’m all about deals, so I had to try and give budding fashionista readers at least a little savings! If you order, get free shipping using the code BG16 in the discount line at checkout. I do not get paid for how many bottles you buy, so no pressure! But feel free to give it a try if you’re looking for a new, effective lotion without harmful chemicals!

As always, thanks for reading!



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:


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!!!