Early (Very Early) Christmas with Shane Co.

I distinctly remember the conversation.

“So, whadya want for Christmas? No, like specifically. You’ve got to want something. Please tell me exactly what it is.”

Since our first gift-giving Christmas together—you see, we started dating right around the holidays, so for our first actual Christmas he technically bought me food from the Springfield, Ill., Denny’s, as we weren’t on gift-giving terms yet—it was easy to tell that Lance panics about giving the proper present. That year I wanted a locket, so I picked one out online; and so began our tradition of me picking out my own gift. Each holiday season, I select what I want, and each time, Lance takes me out to buy it. Once it was a retro-inspired floor lamp. Another time it was a miniature spree at an outlet mall. Most recently, Lance got me the grey bookshelf I’d been eyeing from Target.

But the freedom of selecting my own gift—and a weird determination (that I had never noticed but now see thanks to writing this post) to have every-other-year’s gift be a practical item—is occasionally overwhelming. I think I finally decided on the bookshelf in April. Maybe I ought to start thinking about Christmas in July.

In honor of the early shopping season, legendary jewelry store Shane Co. asked me to style a look with the theme ‘Christmas in July.’ So if I was deciding on my holiday gift now, what would I want? Cool weather, of course, and the fashion perks that come along with it. I miss tights and leather and—dear, sweet fashion gods—boots. Throw in some denim, winter colors, a little pattern, and layered jewelry, and it’s sort of my most favorite type of outfit (that I deeply wish was July appropriate.)

If only it was colder... featuring Shane Co.
Ready to layer up? Find the items here… Vest | Tights | Boots | Dress | Multi-Strand Ring | Studded Ring | Purse | Jacket // Graphic: If only it was colder… featuring Shane Co.

Do you see those sterling silver rings? After digging through their wide selection of jewelry, I fell in love with these two less-than-$40 Shane Co. women’s fashion rings. I’m a wee bit obsessed.

Take notes, Lance. Take notes. Or maybe I’ll just give them to myself! Merry Christmas in July!

Hey you! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shane Co. The opinions and text are all mine.

Workout Woes

The first thing I said when I crawled out of bed this morning was, and I quote, “Damn you, Jillian Michaels!”

Why would I curse the name of a famed fitness guru I’ve never met? I tried  her Yoga Meltdown DVD and it kicked my sorry ass. My sorry, lazy ass that hates exercise and refuses to stop ordering pizza and donuts and bright-colored cocktails… but wants to be the same size it was in high school.

As much as I hate to say it, somethings got to give. If I refuse to cut out the crap-tastic food I adore, and I want to keep buying the size I did at 16, I guess it must be the exercise. Damn it.

I am not a fitness person. I don’t enjoy breaking a sweat. I cannot fathom the apparent high you get from running. I like to wear stretch pants while I watch Netflix.

Lance is a fitness person. Lance loves activities that involve breaking a sweat, like skateboarding or playing basketball. Lance loves the high you get from running. And Lance asked me to start joining him in some of the exercise-related activities he so enjoys.

After several god-awful gym attempts, and a few conversations with the boyfriend about my exercise disdain, I finally pinpointed what I hated so much: I, very obviously, did not know what I was doing, and I, very obviously, do not like looking like I do not know what I am doing.

One thing that made me feel out-of-place: I was going in my pajamas. I didn’t own any other stretchy clothes, and I refused to buy something new simply to sweat in it. But eventually Lance convinced me to try working out in the right uniform; and surprisingly, it did make me feel like I belonged, and that made me hate it a whole lot less.

Would a new wardrobe help improve your opinion on working out? Check out a few of my favorite pieces below.


Fashion-Forward and Fit | Pt. 1
Love what you see? Jacket | Tee | Bra | Leggings | Headband | Bag | Shoes // Graphic: Fashion-Forward and Fit

Fashion-Forward and Fit | Pt. 2
Need it all? Tunic [Low stock... SIMILAR] | Shoes | Bra | Leggings | Water bottle | Hair tie | Yoga socks | Bag | Yoga mat // Graphic: Fashion-Forward and Fit

Now, the outfit does not relate to the health benefits or the calories burned or the muscle gained. But if it helps you enjoy the process a little bit more—or, like in my case, it keeps you from hating every aspect of exercise—then that’s spectacular.

Isn’t it amazing how clothing can make you feel? That’s my favorite part of fashion.

Tales of Great Sales | The Free Rebecca Minkoff Dress

A long time ago, at a garage sale far away, I bought a worn-once, still-in-the-box pair of Doc Martins for $2 from a yuppie who said she could never charge more for shoes that had ever held someone else’s feet. I negotiated several thousand off the price of my car. My cat was on clearance at the shelter. I once made $6 while buying Lance three years of bar soap. Oh, and there was that time we found Riot Fest passes for something like twenty bucks.

Ah, the tales of great sales… One good deal sets the precedent for all future shopping, and it destroys any concept of ‘I know this is full price, but I think I’ll buy it anyway.’

Darling, I just shopped the sale that will ruin shopping forever.*

*I hope not forever. But seriously, what a deal.

Let me explain the mystical, magical deal I stumbled upon: Over the weekend, the St. Louis Off Fifth outlet store had marked all women’s and children’s clearance attire down to buy one get two free. BUY. ONE. GET. TWO. FREE. I’VE NEVER EVEN USED THE ABBREVIATION B1G2 BEFORE.

Now, the other two items from the shopping experience will surface on the blog soon. Till then, to explain the full scope of the sale, I will say this: I found one leather investment piece for just under $200 and received two designer dresses for free. The grand total value was more than $1,500, which means I shopped the three at nearly 90 percent off.

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Currently wearing… Rebecca Minkoff ‘Eros’ Dress, Off Fifth [SIMILAR] | Earrings, vintage | Necklace, vintage | Steve Madden Booties, Famous Footwear, c/o Brown Shoe [SIMILAR] | Bracelet, DIY [TUTORIAL HERE] | Merona Clutch, Target [SIMILAR] | LAQA & CO. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in ‘Menatour’ [HERE] | OPI Nail Polish in ‘Where Did Suzi’s Man-Go?’ [HERE

I almost missed this beauty. I was searching for my second free item for-practically-ever when I heard my favorite shopping friend—my mother—ask what I thought about this. Good eye, Mom! I can’t believe I almost missed this.

Reasons why this is the perfect summer outfit: Bright colors go with bright colors, so this teal plays perfectly with orange nails and purple lips. Oh, and said bright colors flatter pasty skin (er, “porcelain”… nevermind, let’s call it what it is and it is pasty) when balanced with the light neutrals. Y’know, ‘light neutrals’ like white, brown, and tan, which are proper neutrals for scorching weather.

I’m on cloud nine.

Have a tale of a great sale? Tell me in the comments!

A Reason to Dress Up | Dinner at Ruth’s Chris

Hey there! This post was sponsored by Ruth’s Chris, but the opinions are entirely my own. 

How many items have you bought while saying any of the following phrases? I can wear it on date night. This would be perfect for girl’s night out. I’ll wear this some time when we have to dress up. 

Okay, okay—perhaps you said them in a more natural, less robotic way, but I know the idea is correct. Say otherwise and I’m calling you a liar, period. We all do it, and I’m ultra- extra- super-guilty. Considering I’ve literally worn everything from high-end fitness apparel to an elf costume to a ballgown with opera gloves in order to properly cover the news for my day job—and they say a journalism degree won’t take you anywhere!—I have a good excuse to buy almost any type of attire. Oddly enough, it’s the sorta-kinda dressy pieces that I rarely wear; my girl’s nights out involve Mean Girls and pre-made cocktails, and Lance and my perfect date doesn’t involve pretty shoes that pinch. Equally weird, it’s the sorta-kinda dressy pieces that I always gravitate toward in the store. But where, oh where, does one wear such outerwear? (Or other forms of clothing, I just wanted to throw ya one more where/wear reference. #sorrynotsorry)

Enter Ruth’s Chris. Tell me a place is known for good steak and I’m 95 percent sold. Show me said place has a ridiculous cocktail menu and baby, I’m there.

Lance and I were recently invited to Ruth’s Chris in downtown St. Louis (one of two STL-area locations) to sample appetizers and entrees, sip on cocktails and enjoy a meal from the new pre-fixe menus. Whether you want to try the meal yourself ($39.95, sans the drinks) or stop by for cocktails and snacks from the Sizzle, Swizzle & Swirl menu, this is the place to wear the unworn items you previously labeled as “going-out tops” and left to die in your closet.

Scroll down and get hungry as I recap the evening…

I started the night with a Rum Julius. Yes ma’am, that’s rum, orange and pineapple. Uhm… wow.


Our private dining experience gave us fun peeks at St. Louis’ beloved Gateway Arch. Hello, Arch!


The meal began with salad, like most adult meals should (yet none of mine ever do.) Since we were at a steak house, the salad—ahem, a BLT salad, OMG!—obviously wasn’t all veggies.


Then I was ready for drink No. 2: The Blushing Harlot. Yeah, the name sold me on this one, but the taste kept me coming back for every last drop. There was a serious ‘This is empty?!?’ moment 25 minutes after I took this photo.


Time for the entree! Dinner was a four oz. filet topped with a crabcake, a broiled tomato and a stuffed chicken breast. Yeah. All of that. IT’S INTENSE, FOLKS. Word to the wise: arrive hungry. We sampled both side options; should you go, I fully recommend the ultra-buttery mashed potatoes.


Time for the ‘Dessert Duo,’ which was pretty much delicious butter with a graham cracker crust and a small pot of melted buttery goodness with fruit. Ammmmazing.

…And now I’m hungry. If you are, too, you can:

A) Go to bed hungry without a plan
B) Go to bed hungry with a plan to eat at Ruth’s Chris
C) Go to bed hungry with hopes of eating for free at Ruth’s Chris by entering ALIVE Magazine’s meal-for-four contest
D) All of the above, but eat something first, like cereal

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not going to bed hungry.

Don’t forget! This post was sponsored by Ruth’s Chris, but the thoughts about about this crazy good food are entirely my own. 

Holy Scallops! | Playing with Patterns from Pitaya

Jack Rogers sandals. Lilly Pulitzer dresses. Colorful pants. Most monogrammed items. There’s a whole list of stylish things I appreciate… from a distance.

In case you couldn’t guess, I read a lot of fashion blogs, many of which feature styles that I admire, but don’t necessarily wear. I use my day job as a place to fulfill any desire to wear a sweater set and pearls, but even there I still can’t get away with a mint lace skater dress or a popped collar. (Okay, I don’t actually want the latter, but I couldn’t think of a more extreme example. You see where I’m going with this.)

Case in point: the blogosphere (like here and here and here and practically everywhere else) has been buzzing about preppy scalloped-edge attire and accessories, and I’ve been dying to jump on board. But major bummer alert: Every time I’ve seen some scallops, the item has been too girlie-girl for my taste or too expensive for my budget. Can I get some sad brass instruments?

I can surely appreciate blush-colored scalloped lace shorts as much as the next gal, but I just can’t picture myself wearing them. Since I saw my first scalloped shift dress appear on a fashion blog, I’ve been desperately waiting for a scalloped item I could afford and adore. A fun print and a price point under $50 sound reasonable? I thought so, too. Alas, I couldn’t find what I wanted.

So when I saw this leopard skirt hanging in Pitaya, complete with a $36 price tag, I obviously fell in love. FELL IN LOVE.






Currently wearing… Flutter Cap Sleeve Lace Top in Black c/o Pitaya [HERE] | Leopard Print Scallop Hem Short Skirt c/o Pitaya [HERE] | Mossimo Supply Co. Lakitia Sandals in Cognac, Target [HERE] | BCBGeneration ‘MEOW’ bracelet, Nordstrom Rack [try eBay?] | 01:53 PM Watch c/o May28th [HERE] | Cara studded wrap bracelet, Nordstrom [SIMILAR] | Cara rhinestone bracelet, Nordstrom [SIMILAR] | St. John ring c/o Neiman Marcus [SIMILAR] | Forever 21 earrings [SIMILAR] | Kensie belt, DSW [SIMILAR] | Merona clutch, Target [SIMILAR]

I fell in love and now it is mine. The skirt is mine all summer with crop tops. It is mine all winter with tights and boots. And it is mine if I ever decide to be a character from The Flintstones for Halloween. Three cheers for scallops!