Black blue dress + a link up

Nina

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m co-hosting the Jersey Girl Texan Heart link up. What is a link up, you may ask? Link-ups are weekly or monthly online parties for bloggers, more or less. One blogger or a group of bloggers hosts it and encourages other bloggers to link their similar posts up with her’s on her page. It’s a neat way to get your work out there and meet other similarly-minded bloggers.

Each week Monica from Jersey Girl Texan Heart hosts a link up where bloggers can link up whatever is going on in their world. It’s a lot of fun. Her blog too is one I follow. She blogs about style and beauty, but is also not afraid to talk about much deeper things. She’s not afraid to open up and share her struggles, which I respect. I’m sure she’s reached many over the years as a blogger.

So last week, I decided to reach out to her about co-hosting her link up. She obliged and here we are! Oh, and this is Monica, by the way, in her Easter outfit from last week’s link up.

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The black blue dress look

Today it’s all about mixing the black and blue in a dress outfit. Recently, I’ve been digging adding pops of royal blue into my outfits. There’s just something so classy about it. Furthermore I have been obsessed with this Perry Street statement necklace. I got it in my first Rocksbox shipment and could simply not let it go. By the way, have you heard of Rocksbox? It’s a monthly jewelry subscription service. If you use my code NINABFF102, you can get your first month free!

black blue dress

This dress is one of my new favorites! I love something with a little poof and pizazz to it! I found it at the Charlotte Russe outlet for only $16!

black blue dress

black blue dress

Dress: Charlotte Russe; Sweater: Gap; Necklace: Perry Street; Earrings: Charming Charlie; Shoes: Rialto

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Then I switched it up with the most comfortable flats ever. These are Charming Charlie and I’m obsessed.

black blue dress

Don’t forget to go ahead and meet some fellow bloggers in the link up. Take a look around and leave some comment love!


Also linking up with the Pleated Poppy, Pumps and Pushups, Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Sydney Fashion Hunter, Shopping My Closet, Elegance and Mommyhood, Doused in Pink, Curly Crafty Mom

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Gwynnie Bee dress + Liebster Award

Hello all! Happy Monday! Last Monday was spent having some Vietnamese with my friend Una, who I actually featured on the blog several months ago (Tea with Una). I was loving my dress, so I handed the camera to her to snap a few.

Are you familiar with Gwynnie Bee? It’s a clothing subscription service that I discovered several months ago. You basically create an account and start putting things in your online closet. You have to have at least six items in there for them to send you a package. Once you do, based on what you have, they will send you an amount of items ranging from 1-10 depending on your plan. So it’s simple … only put things in your closet that you think you’d like and you’ll be pleased every time. Also just to note, Gwynnie Bee is only for sizes 10-32. Some of the dresses come in medium, which is how it has been able to work for me. I excitedly signed up and then read that later. I’m normally a size 6-8.

As we all know, I love dresses. So currently my online closet is full of 15 dresses. My next one is in the mail! Here is what last week’s looked like:

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie bee

Also, I was nominated by Sarah from Bows and Clothes for a Liebster Award. Basically, bloggers nominate each other and you answer questions. I was honored to be picked by Sarah! Here are my answers to her questions:

1. What do you like to do in your free time?

Between working a full-time job, a part-time weekend job and blogging, I’m often not left with much free time. I do like to hang out with friends and practice speaking Spanish. I also dabble in a little improv comedy.

2. What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is a year worth of traveling the entire world and visiting as many countries as I can. Yet rather than staying in hotels the entire time, I’d spend a lot of my time staying with natives. Getting to know people from other countries is the best way to learn about the world.

3. What is the worst movie/book you have seen/read?

Birdemic is a pretty classically bad movie that I watched with my improv troupe. It’s ridiculous and if anyone is ever having a bad movie night, it should be at the top of your list. Just go watch that preview I linked above.

4. Why do you blog?

In the fall, one of my friends told me I should blog about all the dresses I wear. I have always been a writer and have dreamt about a more flexible source of income. So here I am.

5. What is your least favorite food?

Granola bars.

6. What is your favorite season?

Oh the summer for sure. I’m a very social person, so I love how everyone is out and about in the summer. And of course I love the warmth.

7. What is your favorite blog?

I do not have one, so I’ll just list a few that I read: obviously Bows and Clothes, Bright on a Budget, Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Tanvii and 26 and Counting

8. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it and why?

I would invest it in a business that would employ women seamstresses around the world in an ethical way to make dresses. The dresses would be sold online and possibly in boutiques. I’d take the rest of the money and travel.

9. What is your favorite song and why?

This one. Really? There are too many to choose from. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lana Del Ray recently. I find the song Ride to be fascinating.

10. What is your biggest blogging mistake?

Not discovering the blogging community quick enough! It’s funny how Sarah came into my life. I participated in Dressember and was tweeting about it. Sarah started liking and retweeting my stuff. I check out her blog and found out that she was participating in Dressember. I was excited, so I reached out to her.
I noticed that she participated in link-ups and thought “what’s that?” Once I discovered what they were, I was like “why not?” Now I read a lot of other blogs and often get inspiration from my fellow bloggers!

11. What is your favorite kind of cake?

Here in Cincinnati we have a bakery that makes this chocolate and icing layered cake called an Opera Cream cake. It’s amazing.
I’m awarding the Liebster award to these bloggers: Miss Moore Style, The Work Flare and Laimouna’s Memoirs.

The Liebster Award guidelines are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer the questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate up to 11 bloggers.
  • Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog.
  • Let them know you nominated them.

Here are your 11 questions:

  1. What inspired you to blog?
  2. What message do you want your blog to tell the world?
  3. What do you plan to do to stand out and be different?
  4. What makes you laugh the most?
  5. Who shoots your photos?
  6. If you could only have one accessory, what would it be?
  7. Favorite color?
  8. What’s an average day look like for you?
  9. Where do you want to take your blog?
  10. Dogs 0r cats?
  11. What would you do with a million dollars?
Thanks friends!

Gwynnie Bee

Dress: Leota, also can be found at Zulily here

Boots: Target

Necklace: vintage jewelry from my grandma

Jacket: H&M similar

Also, this beautiful Catholic Church was on our walk. We of course had to snap a few photos!

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Gwynnie Bee

Also I’m linking up with: Doused in Pink, Jersey Girl Texan Heart and Elegance and Mommyhood

 

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A dress mixed with red

This is my mixed dress. Last week I got up like any morning and searched through my closet for a dress to wear. As I was shuffling through, this little black dress caught my attention. I bought it in the fall at Target. I had tried on probably 5+ dresses and it was between two. I did what probably many of us do: texted my best friend photos of both. She told me to go for this one and I’m so glad I did.

When I first bought the dress, I envisioned wearing it out with friends or on dates (if I was dating … ha). It has a fun and flirty look to it, after all. Yet last week, I spotted the dress and my red blazer, and decided to try something. I loved the way the two looked together and I had accessories to match. Perfect!

So this past Monday, I re-created the outfit and took an adventure to the Anderson Heritage Center, this beautiful historic home that now serves as a wedding venue. It’s not far from where I grew up and I have found memories of playing there as a kid. I’ve been meaning to do a shoot there and this outfit seemed perfect.

mixed dress

mixed dress

mixed dress

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mixed dress

mixed dress

Dress: Target; Blazer: Burlington Coat Factory; Necklace/earrings: Charming Charlie; Bag: Target

Linking up with Pumps and Pushups, Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Doused in Pink, Elegance and Mommyhood and The Pleated Poppy

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My look: purple and colorful

Hey all! I love purple! Also, I’m back from Baltimore and ready (more or less) for a week of work!

Today I’m sharing a look I wore about a week ago when I met my friend Hillary for coffee. She’s an amazing photographer. It was also a nice day for February, so I decided to put together a colorful look.

purple purple

purple

I found this dress about a year ago at Charming Charlie. I wanted something to wear in the winter to a work setting. This has been perfect.

Last Sunday, I paired it with some fun tights and a colorful scarf!

purple

purple

purple

Dress: Charming Charlie
Shoes: DSW (exact)
Scarf: Bought in Dubai
Tights: gift from mom
Purse: gift from mom

Linking up with Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Shopping My Closet, Pumps and Pushups, The Pleated Poppy,

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My conference look

I’m in Baltimore this weekend for the Notre Dame AmeriCorps Midyear Conference. This year I have committed myself to a year of service through AmeriCorps, a federally-funded service program. This is how I work at Su Casa Hispanic Center as the Bilingual Education Coordinator. Members commit to working 1700 hours at an organization for very, very little pay. The idea is to altruistically serve, something easier said than done. This conference, however, has been great for re-centering why I do the work I do.

I was loving my outfit on day two. The first day we were asked to wear our AmeriCorps t-shirts for our group photo. Day two, however, I was free to express myself. On once of my afternoon breaks I grabbed Una (My Closet: Tea with Una) and we shot a few photos around the Hunt Valley Inn, our hotel for the weekend.

 

notre
Gotta love the name lanyard

notre

notre

Dress: Old Navy (similar)
Scarf: a gift from long ago (similar)
Tights: H&M (similar)
Shoes: DSW

This long weekend away has been great. Conferences are always a great way to re-focus. It can be hard to always feel good about work. My job is often long days with a lot going on. But being at this conference has helped me to refocus why I serve at Su Casa. Furthermore I met and heard talks from other people who work with Spanish-speaking immigrants. Nation-wide, Notre Dame AmeriCorps actually has a lot of services sites serving Spanish-speakers.

I love speaking Spanish and hope I always have an excuse to speak it.

Also linking up with: Sincerely Jenna Marie, More Pieces of Me, Claire Justine

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My top 3 dog photo-bombs

So tonight I was going through some old photos for a few blog housekeeping things and realized that my dog has photo-bombed at least several of my photos. I love my dog a lot. His name is Toby and he’s a five-year-old yellow labrador/golden retriever mix. He has lots of energy and loves people more than anything. When we come home, he has his notorious excited bark that he barks which is followed by a friendly tail wag as he runs up to you. In the mornings sometimes I’ll hear him whimpering outside of my bedroom door as if to say “I hear you’re up and I wanna come hang out!”

dog

Is that not the cutest dog you’ve ever seen or what? I’m not biased or anything …

dog

Here are the photos he’s bombed:

1. The black party dress

dog

2. The vintage Christmas dress

Check out my face. Priceless.

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3. My Gwynnie Bee dress

Okay so he was too cute not to pet here.

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Thanks Toby! Here’s to hopefully some more hilarious photo-bombs!

Today I’m linking up with:

Jersey Girl Texan Heart, Pumps & Push-ups, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday,

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Mardi gras and the Voodoo Carnival

The Voodoo Carnvial was Saturday night and I went with a few friends. Remember Amber (My Closet: Amber the Entertainer) and all her fun costume dresses? Well she and her boyfriend let me play third wheel and tag along to this wonderful event at the Southgate House Revival.

voodoo

Here Amber is in full costume. The Voodoo Carnival is a steampunk masquerade that has been happening since 2011. Stempunk is a fun group of people who get together to re-imagine the era of steam. They have conventions and events. My description is probably not doing it justice, so you should look at this: www.steampunk.com/what-is-steampunk/

Amber has been involved for a while now. Here is what she put together:

voodoo

voodoo
LOVING this bag

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For my outfit, I opted for more of a Mardigras theme. I found my headpiece at Talk of the Town, a fun vintage and costume shop in the Cincinnati area. The dress is a Forever 21 find from two New Years Eves ago.

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And then for trying to take photos together …

voodoo

voodoo

Them being like a couple, and stuff …

voodoo

Oh and her coat completed the look!

Also linking up with:

Our Pretty Little Girls

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How I Style It: First Date Looks

first night

Good morning all! So today we are linking up with Bright on a Budget, Della Devoted, Garay Treasures, bybmg and Glitter + Ruffles in the How I Style It Look. I’m also linking up with Jersey Girl Texan Heart in her Wednesday link-up.

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Jersey Girl, Texan Heart Link Up

So I initially found out about the How I Style It link-up in an email from Tif at Bright on a Budget. I subscribe to bloggers who are where I’d like to be one day, and she is for sure one of them. When I saw that it was about a date night look, it got me thinking. Truth be told, I’m not dating anyone right now. The last time I’ve been on a “date” was about six months ago.

Then I started thinking about the first date and how I would style a first date look if I were to go on one. I’m a fan of The Mindy Project and I remember first season one of the characters telling Mindy that her first date outfit was too much. I can’t remember the character … one of the guys. He said something like “minimal make, simple dress.” It’s funny how that moment has stuck out in my head since.

Furthermore, I’m sure there are lots of ladies out there unsure of what to wear on a first date. It is for sure nerve-wracking. Also since many of us Internet date now, this may be the very first time you’re meeting the person face-to-face. Making a good first impression is key.

So here are my rules guidelines for first date looks:

1. Something classically me

first date

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve worn this dress. You’d think I’d found it at a vintage store, but I actually found it at Target about a year and a half ago. It is comfy and easy to style.

2. Something simple and classy

first date

A first date is not the time to try anything crazy or too fashion-forward. This dress is just a simple piece that zips up the back. Furthermore, it looks great in the summer with a simple pair of flat sandals, black heels or as is in the picture with some boots. I also wear these boots all the time. Also if you’re taller like me, opting for flat shoes can be great. There’s nothing more awkward (at least for me) than being taller than the guy when you meet. I don’t know … I always like the guys I date to be taller than me.

3. Jewelry and Makeup simple

first date

These pictures were taken yesterday at 8 a.m., providing for a lot of sunlight and interesting shadows. The only jewelry I’m wearing are a pair of black earrings I got in Nicaragua. My hair is pulled back. I also often just have my hair long and down. Again simple and nothing too crazy.

first date

first date

Well those are a few of my tips for first date looks. What tips do you have when dressing for a first date? Feel free to leave me comments below about what you’ve found to work. Also funny stories are always welcomed. I have a few of those for sure too.

Also linking up with:

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My first reiki experience

I tried reiki today. As many of you may already know, I lost my mother several weeks ago. I’m also the kind of person who just stays super busy. In moments of struggle, I use this as a way to cope. If I stay constantly on the go, I have no time to be sad. While there is something to be said for getting out there, today taught me that it is okay to sit with the pain of loss.

Back in the cold and chilly beginning of December, I met Tisa from Love Light & Laughter at the Covington Baazar. That night I had planned a girls night with several close friends. When I saw things on Facebook about the baazar, I figured why not add that to our night? I’m so glad we made it a part of our evening because I may have not otherwise met Tisa. She and I struck up a conversation about her business and my blog. I gave her my contact info and we soon set up a time for me to write about her new venture.

My mom’s passing threw my blog schedule out of whack a bit, which is okay! I knew that it was 100% okay to just take some me time. I reached out to Tisa explaining that her post would appear later, which she was so very understanding of. She also offered to perform reiki on me as a gift. I’m always open to trying new things, so I was down.

reiki

Before this session, I knew just a smidgen about reiki. I knew that it fell in the holistic healing category. According to reiki.org, reiki is a Japanese treatment for stress reduction and relaxation that also can be used for healing. The whole idea is that the healing happens through the laying of hands. That link can probably explain it better than I can.

I knew that reiki had it’s skeptics since it’s not conventional medicine. Naturally people would be weary about something that is just a person touching or laying their hands on you. That part actually intrigued me a lot. I love giving life to things people are unsure of. And I’ll admit that I too simply wondered how it all would work.

The thing I love about Tisa is that she takes all these things that seem out of this world and makes them relatable. When talking about energies and chakras, it can sound a little bit like some fairy tale or fantasy world. But she does a great job at making them relatable and tangible. She, just like the rest of us, is a normal person trying to figure out how to live in the most healthy and holistic way. That comes across 120% in her work. There’s a lot of laughter involved. And if you have a stupid question or concern, you feel comfortable to ask it. I love that.

After about 10 minutes of conversation and filling out a short intake form, I took my shoes off and laid on my back on her table. I was given a face mask like the ones you get on long international flights to block out the light. I was told to start by focusing my breathing as she walked around the table. The session lasted about an hour and included some light touching, beating of a drum and sprinkling of some oils, all while soothing music was played in the background.

At first, it was a tad strange. While I was told to relax, I had trouble doing so. Furthermore, when she initially laid hands on me, I startled a bit. However I’m sure that’s normal for people who have never tried reiki before. Furthermore, I’ve been in a closed off space over the last few weeks. So it was tough to get in there at first, she said.

As the treatment went on, I began to feel more relaxed and comfortable. It was simply nice to be in a space where there were no expectations of me. I was to just be and breathe. She told me to envision love and light. This lead me to think about my mom. My mom was one of my biggest sources of love and support. She loved me for me and then affirmed me in that. Her encouragement always had such a strong impact on my life. Affirmation came so naturally to her. Comments such as “you look so pretty today” or “I just love reading everything you write. You’re such a great writer” came so easily to her. I started this blog after she went to the hospital, so she’s never really had the chance to read it. However if she was still alive and well, I know she’d be reading every post, commenting and sharing them on Facebook.

I began to think about her love and affirmations as I was on Tisa’s table. On one hand, her death creates an absence in my life. No one will ever take her place. I’m so thankful that I had such a loving and supportive mother. I’m going to miss her every single day. On the other hand, she set such an amazing example. I can take that love she’s given me and give it to other people. I can be the one to affirm my friends and family in their gifts. And I can do it in the spirit of my mother. Even though she is gone, her spirit is alive in all who she touched.

After the session was over, Tisa chatted with me about it all. She said she could feel the pain and loss I’m experiencing. She also saw nature as a part of my healing. I needed to get outside amongst tress and just be with my memories of my mother. She also gave me two crystals: Amethyst and Green Aventurine. I have the option to use them for healing if I would like.

After I left my session, my next appointment that day got cancelled. That time in nature was just meant to be. I found a park, and got out with just my camera and keys. My phone stayed in the glove compartment.

The walk was just what I needed. I also snapped a few amazing photos.

reiki

reiki

reiki

Today was just what I needed. I plan to return for another session of reiki next week. I also plan to find more time to be in nature. If you’re on the fence about trying reiki, you most definitely should. You simply feel more grounded and energized afterwards. For me, spending time with memories of my mother had to happen. Reiki simply brought that to the surface and made me conscious that I needed that.

You should most definitely check out http://lovelightlaughterhealing.com/. Tisa offers many things. She also makes her own products that can be found in four different locally-owned shops in the Cincinnati area: Under the Stars, The Colorful Cupboard, Hope Springs Institute and Funky Sunshine.

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My favorite Gwynnie Bee dress

Thanks to Gwynnie Bee, I’ve been enjoying dress deliveries all this month and part of December. The concept is simple: you create an account, put clothing they have for rent in your “closet” and wait for your shipment. They only ever send you items from your closet but do not send you a package unless you have at least six pieces or more to choose from in your closet. You have the option to buy what you cannot part with and return items you didn’t care too much for. After returning or buying, you simply await your next shipment.

I got five shipments this month. Except for one shipment that I sent back right away because I didn’t care much for either dress, I’ve spent a day wearing all the dresses sent to me. Oh yeah, and I only put dresses in my closet. We all know that’s because I can never have too many dresses in my life. But Gwynnie Bee also has pants, tops and skirts you can rent.

This deep teal dress was by far my favorite Gwynnie Bee dress of all. The instant I slipped it on, I felt comfortable. Furthermore the fabric is super unique. It looks fabulous with a little black belt and some black tights. My friend Hillary and I were going to meet up for dinner downtown. Hillary also takes photos. These are all her work. To see more of her work, go to www.hillarycutterphoto.com.

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

These next ones were captured in some cool lighting by the bathroom, of all places, at the 21C Hotel.

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Gwynnie Bee

Thanks Hillary for making me look fierce! Again, go check her out at www.hillarycutterphoto.com. Also the great thing about Gwynnie Bee is that with my code, you can enjoy your first month entirely free! Just click here to learn more.

Also today I’m linking up with:

Jersey Girl, Texan Heart Link Up

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