holiday

Hello, Cato! + Giveaway

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Disclaimer: I partnered with Cato Fashions for this post, but all opinions are my own. 

First of all, let me say hello to all of you! Since my last post, I have given birth to baby number three–a healthy baby boy, Avery, who arrived about four weeks early! I’ll share the birth story in a future post if you’d like! But for now, let’s talk about getting ready for the holidays with the help of Cato.

Before this post, I honestly could not tell you the last time I stepped foot inside a Cato. And I can’t give you a good reason why. I guess, as my shopping options and experiences have expanded, along with not having one within five miles of my home, I kind of forgot about it. But I recently moved and there is now a Cato within five minutes from me! And a new location also opened up in my area last month–in Midfield’s West Hills Plaza. So, it’s safe to say I’ll be saying “hello” to Cato once again! 


I went in recently and was reminded why it should not be counted out when shopping for any occasion, including the holidays! So, if you need to be re-introduced to the retailer, let me do the honors. I tried on a few options that could be worn for three different holiday gatherings.

1. An office party. You cannot go wrong wearing winter white! It’s so chic and luxe, especially with a little fur or gold accessories! I paired Cato’s off-white wide leg trousers with a gold, pleated tank, ivory scarf and a statement pendant necklace. 

2. A get together with friends: The holidays present the perfect opportunity to wear textures you may not feel comfortable wearing every day. Cue the sequins and faux leather leggings! And while we’re at it, throw in my faves–over the knee boots!! Please note, the boots are on sale for $19.99!! The black ones are sold out online, but they may still be in your local store! 

3. The party scene. My favorite occasion! As a new mom of three, the opportunities to get dressed up are few and far between. So I try not to pass on chances when they arise! For this look, I went with a sequin mini dress with a slight scoop back and brought back the OTKs. Let’s face it, wearing pantyhose or tights don’t always make for warm nights when you’re trying to look cute. So try pairing OTKs with your party look for a slightly edgier feel that will add some much-needed warmth and texture!

Cato also has a TON of on trend accessories to amp up any look. From shoes to clutches, it’s seriously a one-stop shop! Here are some of my faves: 


One other thing I LOVE about this store: the prices!! Nothing you have seen featured is over $40!! I went home with the boots (above), the fur collar (above), a yellow dress from the clearance rack and a faux fur vest (below) for $63 before tax! That is my kind of shopping!

I also saw a ton of other things at fabulous price points that I can’t possibly fit in this post! I highly encourage you to say “hello” to Cato if you are like me and hadn’t been in a while! If you need a little incentive, how about a little giveaway?! 

To enter for a chance at a $25 Cato gift card, leave a comment below! I’ll also be opening it to followers on Instagram! You can enter both ways and each time will be counted as a separate entry! Contest ends Wednesday, December 14th at 5pm CST. Open to U.S. residents only. 

Good luck and as always thanks for reading!! 

The Hunt for Red in December

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Let me begin by acknowledging my absence (not that anyone has been jamming up my inbox wondering where my latest posts have gone). I actually hoped to have this post up BEFORE Christmas, but holiday hustle, bustle and procrastination got the best of me. I figure this post can still be handy for New Year’s Eve preps.

Just like most teen girls (who are now in their 30s), I grew up reading Seventeen, YM (oh my gosh! remember YM?!), and the like. My magazine reading continues to this day. So, you’d think after ALL these years I’d know all kinds of handy dandy make-up and beauty tricks. That’s hardly the case as I compare my handiwork to that of…almost every other woman I know and don’t know. Yeah, yeah, yeah I compare myself to others.

Honestly, the effort to get “made up” takes too much time on a daily basis. I’m low-maintenance. Most days, I’m no-maintenance! I rarely wear make-up. Not because my natural beauty can carry me through the day. It’s because I would rather sleep that extra five minutes or check Instagram for five minutes or spend five more minutes trying to figure out what I’m going to wear.

My “special occassion” look is comparable to most women’s “every day” look. I use a one-step powder (thank goodness for Bare Minerals, because I cannot be bothered with applying foundation AND THEN powder), a sad attempt at a smoky eye, some lip gloss and a little contouring on the cheeks.

But I wanted to “up” the glam factor for my husband’s company Christmas party. I mean, I have to kick it up a notch wearing a feather skirt, right?! So, despite all of my years of accummulating beauty knowledge, my make-up bag has hardly accummulated any “glamorous” beauty essentials.

I envisioned a classic, red lip for my husband’s soiree. But I didn’t feel like my drug store Wet ‘N Wild shade of red was going to fit the bill. So I headed to Sephora to get professional help.

I have read different shades of red look good on different skin tones. What I learned at Sephora is, that’s not necessarily true. I found, just like in fashion, similar rules apply in make-up: wear what you feel confident and beautiful in! Yes, there may be some shades that look better on some skin tones ideally, but if you’re looking for a bold, fire-engine red, then you need to get a bold, fire-engine red. My best advice: let the make up counter experts lead you in the right direction. After that, make your own judgments about color/shades if you want to brave the drug store options.

Here’s my before (which includes make-up, but no lipstick.  I don’t know all of you well enough to go bare-faced yet):

Here are the shades that were in the running:

1. Icon by Hourglass: a true lipstick that I liked. It went on smooth and made me feel glam, but I thought it might be a little too bright. I had to continue…

2. F-Bomb by Urban Decay: You will be hard-pressed to ever hear me drop the f-bomb, but I admit, I was attracted to the name. I really loved the color as well! This was also a tube lipstick that felt smooth. But I wanted to see what some other options were. So I moved on…

3. Fiery by Stila: This came in a tube with a wand like a lip gloss. It went on wet, smooth application and dried matte. I really loved the matte finish because I felt like it wouldn’t end up on my teeth after the first time I opened my mouth! A definite contender!!

4. Mysterious Red by Nars (not available): a fat lip pencil. I really loved this color! It was probably my favorite, but..oops! It was sold out and they didn’t realize it when they showed it to me. But, it was for the best because I wasn’t a huge fan of the pencil. If my lips are chapped, it does not make for a smooth application.

Soooo…The shade I ended up taking home was the Stila in Fiery. It was $22. I love how it is applied with a brush, not a tube or pencil. I feel like I’m just putting on my regular gloss, but it dries matte! It stayed on all night with only a little fadng in the center of my lips.

Here’s the before and after (I must mention, after applying and re-applying four shades, my lips were a little raw! hence the puffy look):

For the record, my husband and children prefer my “before” look. The red is certainly not my go-to choice for going out, but it doesn’t hurt to have fun, branch out, get glamorous!

And…after I got all dolled up (with a flattering flash that hides my flaws), here is how my look came together the night of the party. To check out my outfit for the night, check me out on Instagram!

I do have to give props to the gentleman who helped me at Sephora, but I will have to add that later because I have to track down the card with his name on it!! oops!

But, I’m so glad I ventured out and tried something new. I felt like I really needed a little boost to get me excited about make-up again! Smooches!

Holiday Dreaming

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As my holiday wish list seems to get bigger and bigger, my already tight budget seems to feel increasingly smaller.

So, this post is a reflection of those covetable items that will likely not make it into my December budget breakdown. In case you needed a warning, this is not my typical budget-friendly post! I’ll be dreaming about these items until they are delivered by Santa (not holding my breath), received as Christmas gifts (yeah, right), or until a Christmas miracle marks them down to within my budget (doubtful). There may be a couple of items within my reach once my budget challenge is over…in January 2014! I’m just a little excited about that.

At the top of my wishlist: the feather skirt! Depending on where you work and how your company celebrates, this would be the perfect statement for the office holiday party. At least, it would be MY perfect statement. It’s fun, it’s flirty, it’s sexy, it’s unique! Paired with a simple top (I’m thinking basic sweater or even a button down) plus a statement necklace–you are sure to “wow” the crowd (if you care about “wow”-ing anyone).

Sabine Feather Skirt – Piperlime // Ombre Feathered Fringe Skirt – Ann Taylor // Milly Feather-Skirt Strapless Dress

The party animal inside of me (that only gets released on rare occasions) opts for something a little more daring. I have my eye on (and my eyes are the only thing that will probably ever get close to these items) a little leather and sparkle!

Lena Leather Dress – Marc by Marc Jacobs // Bowery Asymmetrical Leather Skirt – Rachel Zoe // Sequin Mosaic Mini – Pim + Larkin

I’m also dreaming about fancy feet (and knees and thighs)! I’m talking about uber haute over the knee boots. I love the Michael Kors ones featured below because the heel doesn’t look too “Pretty Woman” if you catch my drift. But, for the SALE price of $900 that just ain’t happening. I have seen plenty of people on Instagram sporting reasonably priced OTKs from Forever 21.  I have been debating blowing half of my budget on some affordable (i.e. cheapy) OTKs, but can’t bring myself to take the plunge. I am typically a boot snob who opts for leather only, but I would be willing to compromise for OTKs because they are more of a trend piece for me.

Jayla High Heel OTK – Michael Kors // Forever 21 boot sold out on Black Friday similar here // South Bay OTK – Chinese Laundry

And I can’t forget the bling. I admit, my jewelry options are limited compared to real fashionistas out there. But I’m slowly building up my stash…and being very selective as I do so. My purchases HAVE to be on super sale! Costume jewelry can still cost a pretty penny and the price tags are tough for me to swallow. $100 for a fake necklace?! I don’t care how worthy your “statement” is…it’s not going to make a statement with my bank account. But, here in in la la land, I can dream.

Rhinestone Mesh Necklace – Sabine // Regalia Statement Necklace – Banana Republic // Zora Crystal Necklace – Stella and Dot

If any of these items happen to make their way in my closet, I’ll be sure to let you know which Christmas miracle I experienced! Have a happy holiday!!

By Budding Fashionista