My Favorites: Ashley and The Polkadot Alley Boutique

Having lived most of my life in Dallas suburbs, I never thought I would be saying, “Yay, I can’t wait to go shopping in Lubbock!”.  I met my wonderful husband while attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, so we travel there often to visit family and attend football games, but I never dreamt I would be itching for a trip to Lubbock so I could go on a shopping spree at The Polkadot Alley Boutique.

My college friend and sorority sister, Ashley, is the founder and let’s-be-frank “mastermind” of a little gem in the West Texas desert called The Polkadot Alley and has been on this journey since 2008.  I’m proud to know and support this woman-owned business because I’ve seen Ashley follow her dream and work tirelessly to support a business that takes time and dedication.  She is also a loving wife and mother with three precious children, so you can say she’s an inspiration and role model to all.  Ashley has been so successful with her online store and storefront boutique that The Polkadot Alley has been featured not only on the local Lubbock news and TTU Alumni magazine, but also in worldwide news publications like The New York Times.  The internet boutique business is booming, and Ashley was there at its inception, helping to bring fashion to young (and not-so-young) ladies all over the states!

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Even though the models featured in The Polkadot Alley are geared towards the college crowd, do not let this deter you from exploring all of the wonderful pieces they have to offer!  And if you are in the Lubbock area, go visit her boutique where you can browse the fabulous store, and maybe she will let you peek at the warehouse in the back where she has tons of racks of shopping heaven!  I’ve been known to get lost back there for hours.  Hehe…

I want to share with you some of my favorite summer and fall looks from my recent shopping sprees at The Polkadot Alley and introduce you to Ashley’s wonderful store:

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I LOVE Summer!!!

The Pink Romper.  I know what you’re thinking, rompers can be super scary.  I picked this romper out for fellow 3NonBlonde Amanda to try on and she threw it back over the fitting room to me.  I thought, “Why not?” and proceeded to squeeze into this amazingly flattering shorts romper.  I immediately loved this romper because it has a flirty hemline that gives it a little more length so that my booty doesn’t hang out the back.  Ashley’s store has tons of romper selections, but this has been my favorite so far.

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This romper pattern reminds me of fireworks!

The Crop Top.  This is the first legit crop top I have bought and worn in my life!  Ashley carries it in like 5 other colors and I’m regretting not getting one in each.  I have received tons of compliments on this crop top and have worn it with a black pencil skirt and also with shorts.  It’s an easy piece to dress up or dress down and the neckline has a beautiful embroidered pattern on it.  The Polkadot Alley has a store full of crop tops and now that I’ve mastered my confidence in them, I know I’ll be looking for more.

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Crop tops for work? Yes!
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And also appropriate for Cancun!

Two Dresses for Any Season.  One of the many reasons I love The Polkadot Alley is they have many color and length choices.  Sure, I love short minis and dresses, but now that I’m 36(!), I am acutely aware of office and leisure appropriate clothing.  This is exactly what I was thinking when I spotted this delicious coral dress that hits the knee.  Ashley has it in like five different colors and also in a floor length style.  I’m too short for floor length, so I fell in love with this length because I could easily throw a cardigan or blazer on it and dress it up for work.  It’s a great color for any season.  The other dress I feel in love with was this 60’s inspired white dress with flower detail.  I traveled for work recently and wore it on a plane ride and it was pretty comfortable.  It’s a perfect A-line and doesn’t cinch but also doesn’t make you look frumpy.  It’s perfect!

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This color is yummy.
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Why yes! I am auditioning for Madmen!
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Fierce for fall

The T-shirt Dress(es).  Finding two t-shirt dresses that fit in length and width was a miracle in itself.  I am really thanking the fashion Gods the flared dress look is in this season.  It helps me find pieces that fit without worrying about things being way too small.  Anyway, the plum dress I found has pockets, which I love!  The black t-shirt dress is just so soft I want to live in it.  I bought it this weekend and have already worn in three times.  The week is not over, I may wear it again!  The versatility of the t-shirt dress is the reason I convinced myself to get both of them.  I can already picture throwing on a pair of boots, scarf, and moto jacket to make them fall worthy.

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Comfort, pockets and style…
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I want to live in this dress. It’s super soft.
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Perfect gameday dress!

I hope you enjoyed learning about The Polkadot Alley and find yourselves furiously searching the website for a new outfit!  Let us know if you have previously shopped at any online boutiques or if you have shopped at The Polkadot Alley.  I would love to hear your comments!

Social Media for The Polkadot Alley:

Facebook

Instagram

Blog

Online Store

Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Not Your Mom’s Shorts: Summer Style

 

Rules are meant to be broken, right?  Or at least bent a little…or a lot!  When I turned 35, I was suddenly hyper aware of the clothing I was choosing when I went shopping.  In the back of my mind, that annoying little voice of “fashion rules” kept telling me I needed to choose age-appropriate clothes and sensible shoes.  Well, I decided I didn’t give two effs about that voice and I refuse to style myself in Mom jeans and flats.  I love shorts and unless these legs turn into an atlas map of veins, I will wear them proudly.  And since the weather has technically transitioned into Spring, I ran to Francesca’s and found the perfect shorts outfits to kickoff the season! And they were having a bogo half off sale!

Before we get into the fabulous pieces I found at Francesca’s, I want to share with you a piece advice I practice when getting in the mindset of shopping…

Don’t compare yourself to anyone…At 5’3 and not 120lbs, 99.9% of the models pictured in the stores I shop at look nothing like me.  This does not deter me from trying on outfits or make me shy away from stores.  Sometimes, I miscalculate and the waist of a dress falls way too low or a hem doesn’t fall right, but you will never know how something fits unless you try it on.  Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and take pictures with your phone so you can examine your look.  And don’t buy anything unless you LOVE IT and it makes you feel FABULOUS!

Cher Poloaroids

My favorite looks this season came from Francesca’s.

Peplum chambray and woven shorts.  Peplum is my absolute favorite because it is both flattering and comfortable.  Paired with some ultra short bottoms and you are ready for summer fun!  These shorts have a little peek-a-boo knit side panel which lets you dress them up or down.  And the best part about these shorts (besides the elastic waist) is the price…under $15!

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Shirt: Francesca’s chambray peplum (similar) $34

Shorts: Forever 21 crochet paneled shorts $12.90

Shoes: Francesca’s lace up wedges $58

Olive green embroidered shorts.  Olive green is my latest obsession and I have recently made several purchases in that color.  These shorts from Francesca’s are so soft and feel like pajamas.  They are high-waisted and have that cute front tie, but you can wear them with a crop top or with a long, flowing shirt.  They are so versatile and the embroidered details provide a more feminine look to a classic style.  I liked pairing them with my tan wedges to elongate my gams.  Hehe.

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Shorts 03

Shirt: Forever 21 striped crop top $6.99

Shirt: Francesca’s Veronica scalloped tank $28

Shorts: Francesca’s Olive Kadie embroidered shorts $24.99

Shoes: Francesca’s lace up wedges $58

Chambray shorts.  There are so many different kinds of denim shorts from short cutoffs to long, long culottes.  These high-waisted, belted chambray shorts are very comfy and can also be paired with a tucked in or untucked shirt.  I really liked the untucked look for a casual yet put together look for weekend wear.  It’s a great option instead of throwing on cutoffs and a t-shirt.  Pair them with a pair of sandals and your’e ready for a busy weekend!

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Shirt:  Forever 21 V-neck cami $1.90

Shirt: Francesca’s Jessica solid blouse $34

Shorts: Francesca’s chambray shorts (similar)

Shoes: Francesca’s lace up wedges $58

Oh my, it’s skorts!  If you are a child of the nineties then you probably had a pair of these babies.  These skorts are girly and also very comfortable and I love them in navy.  A perfect solution for a date night on a hot, summer day when you don’t want to wear regular shorts but also don’t want to commit to a dress.  Let’s face it, some dresses or skirts can really restrict your dance moves.  These skorts are the perfect solution for functionality and cute shorts.

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Shirt: Francesca’s Jessica solid blouse $34

Shorts: Francesca’s Kalea printed skorts $24.99

Shoes: Francesca’s lace up wedges $58

I can’t wait to wear all of my new Francesca’s outfits this spring and summer season!  What kind of shorts do you like to wear?  Do you dare put on those tiny shorts like I do?  Let us know in the comments!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Jackets, Joggers and Jeans: How to Dress Your Man

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Joggers are here to stay

Floral Hawaiian shirts and pleated Dockers.  That was my husband’s outfit of choice when I met him fifteen years ago.  We were twenty years-old and in college and Michael didn’t even own a pair of jeans!  He’s a smart, witty, kind guy who is basically an IT genius but he has zero interest in clothes.  So when he mentioned he would love for me to help him out in this area, I knew we were meant to be.

I’m lucky enough to have a guy who is willing to be my blank slate when it comes to fashion for men.  I try to keep his look “timeless” by picking classic patterns and colors and not picking things that are going to go out of style.  Michael understands my passion for fashion and his only rule is, “Please don’t make me look stupid”.  He’s willing to try skinny jeans, joggers and cardigans.  And he also doesn’t mind being inspiration for his clone Antonio.  Somehow, these two don’t mind twinning.

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#Twinning

There are a few basic rules when dressing a guy.  Comfort, cut and style.  The most comfortable fabric is cotton, so I tend to stick to mostly cotton pieces that will not chafe or rub.  Cut is important because like women’s clothes, men’s clothes can differ greatly in size depending on the brand or department store.  Familiarize yourself with brand fits by trial and error and yes, you have to drag your man to the store every once in a while so he can get a good fitting.  I hardly ever take Michael shopping anymore because I stick to what I know works for him…Nordstrom’s, Banana Republic Outlet store and Gap.  Style is a tricky one to explain.  The best way I can describe it is don’t put your guy in an outfit that doesn’t reflect his personality.  Michael is the kind of guy that can pull off preppy or hipster-inspired outfits, but I wouldn’t dare put him in biker outfit or a Axl Rose inspired ensemble.  Unless it was Halloween of course!

Halloween 2015
Why, yes! Those are leather pants on both of us!

When it comes to fashion, I find inspiration browsing through Pinterest.  Here are six Pinterest inspired men’s fashion outfits that I asked (O.K. bribed) Michael to model (Thanks babe!).

Dressy shorts.  Just because your man is in shorts doesn’t mean it has to look sloppy or like he’s about to do yard work.  I found this dapper shorts and sweater look on Pinterest and put Michael’s outfit from existing pieces in his closet.  I dressed it up by putting Michael in a wrinkle-free button down shirt, but your guy could easily just wear it with a t-shirt underneath.  It’s all about comfort!

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Shorts don’t have to be boring.
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Feeling a Zoolander moment.

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet $51.99

Sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (similar) $47.99

Shorts:  Kohl’s Urban Pipeline $24.99

Shoes:  Canvas slip on shoes $45

Jogger inspiration because guys in joggers are hot.  You can dress them down or up and they are appropriate for almost any occasion.  I bought Michael a pair of joggers online and asked him to keep an open mind while trying them on.  After a moment, he said they felt comfortable and he was glad he didn’t have to wear a belt with them.  Success!  So, joggers may not be for every guy but if you’re man is willing to go out of his comfort zone and try them, you may get lucky like I did.  And to be honest, I think they are way better than cargo pants.  No matter how old a guy is, if he’s wearing cargo pants, he always looks like a little kid.  #notafan

Below are three ways your guy can wear joggers.  A simple polo paired with a pair of joggers looks casual yet stylish.  For a more rugged look, put your man in a flannel in joggers.  Again, he can be comfortable by keeping his shirt untucked and wearing sneakers.  For a dressier look, put him in a clean and crisp button down shirt with a pop of color.  Volia!

 

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Embrace the jogger look!
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Flannel + joggers = perfect
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Babyzilla photobombed our photoshoot!

Shirt: Banana Republic Outlet Polo $21.99

Shirt: Plaid Flannel (similar) $24.99

Shirt: Gap Wrinkle Resistant standard shirt (similar) $59.95

Pants: Gap Utility Jogger $59.95

Shoes: Calvin Klein Chukka boots from Nordstrom’s $120

Jeans and a Blazer.   Every single guy out there should have a pair of nice jeans and a blazer they can throw on for a date night or special occasion.  Jeans and blazers is a classic yet sophisticated look for any guy.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a nice blazer…we found this awesome style and cut at Kohl’s!  So, get your Kohl’s cash and coupons and start shopping.  The point is, your guy can wear a nicely tailored blazer and a t-shirt and jeans and still look like a rockstar.

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Grilling and modeling. We know how to multi-task.

Shirt:  Boss Sharp Fit Check Dress Shirt from Nordstrom’s $125

Blazer:  Haggar’s Suite Jacket from Kohl’s $100

Pants:  Gap Skinny Fit 1969 Jeans $69.95

Shoes:  Calvin Klein Chukka boots from Nordstrom’s $120

The Gingham shirt.  If you don’t know what gingham is, it’s the picnic blanket pattern and it’s extremely timeless and fresh on guys.  A gingham print shirt is a must for any guy of any age and it looks amazing paired with jeans.  Michael is wearing the black version of the Gap skinny jeans and it’s a very 50’s inspired look.

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Gingham…that’s hot
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Gingham and BBQ…and Babyzilla

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet Gingham Shirt $51.99

Pants:  Gap Skinny Fit 1969 Jeans $69.95

Shoes:  Oxford shoes from Banana Republic Outlet (similar) $148

Dress Shirt and Chinos.  Work clothes don’t have to be boring.  Chinos that fit can make a difference between looking outdated and looking like a young professional.  Pair them with a button down crisp shirt and some dress shoes and you’re ready to tackle corporate America.

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Business casual with style

Shirt:  Urban Pipeline button down shirt (similar) $24.99

Pants:  Banana Republic Outlet Chinos $44.99

Shoes:  Cole Haan Wingtip dress shoes (similar) $129.90

Classic blue dress shirt.  The dress shirt has made it to the weekend.  Michael is wearing a pair of comfy chinos and a chambray dress shirt to show how you can keep it casual and look like a boss while manning the jalapeno poppers.  The great part about the weekend is you can wear dress shirts and not have to tuck them in.  This act alone makes the shirt look appropriately casual while also serving as an alternative for a t-shirt.  I can tell you right now Michael has no idea what chambray is but he does know this button-down blue shirt looks good and feels great.

Another great thing about the dressy blue (chambray) shirt is how you can take it from a casual look to a dressy look.  I paired Michael’s chambray shirt with a bowtie and a long coat and it creates a completely different look than before.  Simple acts like tucking in a shirt or putting on a blazer can completely change an outfit.  Pretty cool, huh?

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Weekend casual just got fancy
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Bowties and jean…oh my

Shirt:  Banana Republic Outlet tailored chambray shirt $51.99

Pants:  Banana Republic Outlet Chinos $44.99

Coat:  Zara (similar) $299

Shoes:  Cole Haan chukka boots (similar) $120

Does your guy have style?  Or, do you help him look his best by taking over the shopping duties?  Tell us your favorite men’s fashion trends your guy likes to wear and your favorite stores to shop.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

My Favorite Things: Zulily Online Shopping

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Babyzilla’s Flash t-shirt was originally meant for Antonio…oops, I misread the size chart

I hardly ever have time to shop at an actual department store, so I do quite a bit of online shopping.  When Babyzilla was just a baby, my mother-in-law  suggested I take a look at Zulily’s website because she had recently signed up and there were so many adorable kid outfits at reasonable prices.  It just took one browsing session to hook me onto Zulily sales.  If you are not familiar with Zulily, it’s an online store where you find heavily discounted products (clothes, shoes, health & beauty, toys, furniture, etc.) everyday and each collection is only available for a limited time.  They have unique styles you would not usually find in department stores and also familiar brands that you would see in department stores.  If you are thinking of buying from the Zulily website, I have some tips on how to maximize your shopping experience.

Tip #1: Zulily packages take a while to get to you, so order way in advance.  Zulily does NOT have two day shipping, like Amazon Prime, so you may have to wait anywhere from two weeks to a month to wait for your order.  It’s not that bad, but if your’e like me, you want instant gratification and also procrastinate so you order things at the last minute and expect to get them yesterday.  That’s not going to happen with Zulily so you may as well place your order, forget about it for two weeks, and then find yourself pleasantly surprised when that package shows up in the mail.  Last September, I ordered some Halloween outfits for the kids and I was tracking the package which seemed to have gotten lost.  I called the Zulily customer service number and the folks gave me a credit for my items and were extremely apologetic.  The items finally showed up and then I had some credits to spend!  I have placed about a dozen orders with Zulily and this was the one time I had a shipping incident.

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Babyzilla often picks out her own outfits, so I will browse online with her to get her stamp of approval. Antonio, not so much.

Tip #2: Kid sizes run small, so make sure to size up.  Most of my Zulily shopping has been for my daughter and son, so I’m not familiar with how adult sizing compares, but the kid’s clothes does run small.  My kids are both big for their age so I often get one to two sizes bigger than what they usually wear.  Especially with tops.  I once ordered a Flash t-shirt with the intent on buying it for Antonio and it ended up fitting Babyzilla.  So, make sure you pay close attention to the size chart and go up from there.  I would much rather have a larger item than a smaller one because then I would at least be O.K. knowing the kids can grow into it.  There’s not much you can do with an article of clothing that is too small besides exchanging it or giving it away.  I have not had to exchange anything from Zulily and I’ve been sizing up since the beginning.

Tip #3: Extensive brand selection is their strong point.  I used to shop at several local boutiques for Mudpie items until I started noticing Zulily carries the same exact brand, at a discounted rate.  Why would you want to pay more for something you can get for less money online?  I felt a twinge of guilt for no longer shopping at the boutique but my pocketbook won that battle.  On the flip side, they also carry very well known department store brands like Spanx and Jessica Simpson in their collections.  I recently bought Babyzilla two Jessica Simpson bathing suits and Antonio a Nautica sweater at discounted prices that were way below store prices.  Again, there is a whole world of adult clothing and furniture and many other things that I have not yet experienced at Zulily because my shopping has been focused on children’s clothes.

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Antonio’s Nautica sweater is one of my favorite purchases
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Antonio’s Swag T-shirt by LC Trendz
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Babyzilla’s Jessica Simpson ruffle bikini

Tip #4: Last Chance Deals and Ready to Ship!  Two gems from Zulily online shopping are Last Chance Deals and Ready to Ship products.  As indicated in the name, Last Chance Deals are sales which are nearing their end and you need to get a move on if you would like to purchase.  Ready to Ship! deals are marked with a rocket and will ship within two days of ordering.  These items are meant to be “fast track” items that can get to you in a much quicker timeframe than normal Zulily sales.

Tip #5: Utilize their great website and app.  I have the Zulily app on my phone and I can shop, track, and view my latest orders from the palm of my hand.  This can be a little dangerous if I have some time to kill…The order status on their website and app make it very clear to see the status of your orders.  This is helpful when you’re like me and you forget when you placed the order and need a reminder on when to expect that fun Zulily package.

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In summary, buying kid clothes from Zulily has been a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience for me so far.  I will continue to find frilly outfits for Babyzilla and cool t-shirts for Antonio.  My next adventure on Zulily will be to buy myself something.  Have you ever shopped at Zulily?  What is your favorite online store to buy from?  Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Outsourcing Style: Using Trunk Club to update my wardrobe

Two years ago my husband came home with bags full of awesome clothing, tailored to fit him perfectly. When he explained his visit to Trunk Club and how someone did all the shopping for him, I immediately asked if this service existed for women. At the time, only Stitch Fix was available for women’s clothing, and I hadn’t had much success with that service.

Fast forward to last summer when his stylist emailed to announce the launch of Trunk Club’s styling service for women. The husband forwarded that email to me and I signed up immediately. For years I’ve struggled with style. The other non-blondes have a running joke about my love for the black turtleneck, since it was pretty much my college uniform. I struggle with matching – and black turtlenecks match everything!

Trunk Club offers styling services in two forms – you can make an appointment at a clubhouse, or request a trunk be shipped to your home. I’ve tried both services, but this is a review of just the trunk shipment.

I emailed my stylist, Jordin, letting her know I needed some winter sweaters and scarves, since apparently I threw out anything warm the previous summer when I cleaned out the closet. I’ve worked with Jordin in person before, so she understands my comfort level for patterns and colors, but she also includes things in the trunk that would push me out of those comfort zones. She shipped out a trunk the next week.

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Tucker also likes Trunk Club

This trunk arrived mid-December, and I was so busy that I actually took 3 days to open it. Trunk Club gives you 10 days to review the items in the trunk and then let them know what you will keep and what you will return. They also include return shipping labels and tape. You can schedule a UPS pick up from your home, or just drop it off at a UPS Store.

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Such pretty packages!

I love opening a new trunk! They package all the items up in cute stacks, tied together with string. There is also an itemized list included describing each piece, including the manufacturer and the price. This particular trunk included a pair of shoes, so you know that was the first thing I opened.

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Love at first sight.

I tried on all the items, even the ones I knew I didn’t want to keep. Everything in this trunk fit, but some weren’t the best cuts of clothing for my frame, or the color was similar to something I already owned. The trunk contained 11 pieces total, but that amount can vary according to the instructions you have sent to your stylist.

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I ended up keeping the gray denim (shown in all the pictures), the black scarf, the black and white poncho sweater (bottom left), and the black boots (duh). I also made a last minute decision to keep the navy coat and I’m so glad I did – I’ve worn it many times this winter.

Trunk Club’s service makes it very easy to find new pieces without wandering around a mall with a million other people. I love being able to try everything on at my house to see how things work with the rest of my clothing and to be sure I’m not duplicating things that are already in my closet. I also feel like the pieces Jordin picks are typically of good quality, with nice fabrics and good construction, which isn’t always the case when you stumble into some of the usual stores in the mall. Since we have a small closet, I try to aim for quality over quantity, and Jordin and Trunk Club have not disappointed.

If you are interested in trying out the service for men or women, use this referral link to sign up. I’ll get a credit toward my next trunk, and you will end up with awesome clothes from a fantastic stylist.

Kendra Sig

Workout Pants for the Curvy Girl

I’m one of those really smart ladies that ate everything in sight during my first pregnancy and gained almost 70 lbs so, now I have a stomach that seems to jiggle and wiggle no matter what I do.  So when I workout, I have to make sure my workout pants have a TON of support but don’t end up making me look like an overstuffed sausage casing that’s ripped its top.  I’ve had workout pants that I thought looked and felt great until I started to run and they inevitably began to roll down.  I once ran a race where I had to literally hold up my pants so that I wouldn’t end up pantless.  I have been on a mission to find the perfect running and workout pants and have found some favorites along the way. I’ve tried everything from Target brands, to unknown brands, to LuLu Lemon and it all depends on the cut.  My curvy frame requires trial and error for a perfect fit and here’s what I’ve learned: there’s no ONE pant that fits all workout needs so here’s a list of my favorite workout pants depending on the type of workout I’m participating in.

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lulu lemon wunder under yoga pants

overall stars

Yoga/Pilates:  LuLu Lemon Wunder Under Crop ($88) – With all the hype around lululemon, I had to try them.  I walked into their local shop and fell in love with their yoga pants when I pulled on those deliciously soft pants in the dressing room and they smoothed out my middle section.  Oh, and they were on SALE.  I paid about half the original price because they were on the clearance rack.

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The Wunder Under waist has reinforcement that keeps me in place even in a downward dog pose.  They are not meant for high cardio activity, so your best use out of them will be yoga, pilates or light cardio.  I wear them to yogalates on a regular basis.

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Target Champion C9 Duo Dry workout pants

4 of 5

Bootcamp class:  Target Champion C9 Duo Dry workout pants ($20) – You may have caught a glimpse of these on the I Wanna Go To Chick Fil A spoof video.  The style I’m wearing is from last season (cost me $13!) so I’ve added the link to something similar.  The key to getting a good fit with the Champion brand is to go a bit smaller in size because the sizing tends to be on the larger side.  I made the mistake of buying running pants there for years in a large and I would have to constantly pull up my pants while I ran.  I finally tried the medium and found they would stay in place while doing high intensity cardio.  Yay!

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And for the price, these are your best bet for an overall workout pant.  I wear these to my bootcamp class on a regular basis because they stay in place while I’m running, jumping, or doing squat work.

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UA Printed Fly-By Capri

5 out of 5

Running:  Under Armour Printed Fly-By Compression capri ($54.99) – These are my absolute favorite workout pants.  I was shopping the sales rack at the local Luke’s Locker during a lunch break and the sales attendant suggested I try these on.  I saw how small they looked and told her they looked way too tiny to fit this booty.  She told me they are compression pants and should be tight and that I should give them a try.  It took me a minute to get them on but when I looked in the mirror I was pleasantly surprised.

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I love their crazy design and they also have that mom pooch band in the tummy that holds everything in.  You can find me wearing these on a weekly basis.  And like my other purchases, I got them at a discounted price because they were from the sale rack.

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Fabletics Salar Legging

overall stars

Weight training:  Fabletics Salar Legging (currently selling for $24.97!) – Kate Hudson basically shamed me into getting these pants because her abs are ridiculous and she has had two kids.  I signed up for Fabletics and have not been disappointed with my purchases, especially these pants.

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The Salar Leggings not only have a cool ink blot design, but they also have the tummy band and a really soft feel to them.  They can withstand high cardio and I love wearing them to weight training because they protect my legs when I do deadlifts.

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NikeCourt Baseline Capri

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Kickboxing:  NikeCourt Baseline Capri ($85).  These pants are multi-purpose.  I wear them to all of my workouts and they stay in place and are also comfortable.  They are a tad looser on the waist than my Under Armour pants, so I can wear them on short runs but not runs that last more than 3 miles.  I ran across these at Luke’s Locker and also got them at a discounted rate.

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The sales rack is key to my shopping needs!  The flexibility of the NikeCourt Baseline capri makes it an ideal pant for movements in kickboxing class.

Getting back on my workout schedule was part of my New Years Resolutions goals, so it’s important to have my clothes ready in the morning so that I don’t have ANY excuse to skip a workout.  I actually look forward to wearing all of these workout pants!  What are your favorite workout pants?  Are you loyal to certain brands? Let us know in the comments section!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Family Photos: How To Get Your Unicorn Photo

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This year’s unicorn…Klein Family Photoshoot 2015 – Photo by Abby Knowles

We have all wandered over to the Awkward Family Photos website and had a good laugh, while secretly hoping we don’t ever appear on there.  Thank-you-baby-Jesus that my Mom doesn’t know how to upload pictures to the internets.  I never understood the obsession with taking family photos until I had my son.  Then, I wanted to broadcast my most prized possession to the entire world so everyone could see just how adorable he really was.  And then, I realized that having the perfect family photo was also important because this gem would then be shared with all of my friends and family through the both dreaded and loved Christmas Card.  After eight years of taking family photos, I have some words of wisdom to share on how to successfully survive and pull off a great family picture.

Research Photographers.  I have been lucky to find many talented women who do photography on the side, and cost significantly less than photographers who do this professionally full-time.  I’ve searched reviews, googled and have stalked photographers before approaching them about photographing my family.  That’s the beauty of the internet.  Most photographers have websites you can browse and determine if their style fits your needs.

Natural Sunlight is Best.  Head outside to take your family pictures.  Studio photos often look cheesy and unless you live in a mansion, outdoors pictures make for the best backdrop.  One of our first family photoshoots was done outside, and I will always love the contrast of the soft colors of our clothes against the bright green grass.  I was still new to family pictures at this point, so our outfits are not on par, but I was also pregnant and only thinking about comfort and keeping cool.  Thus, the mumu with birds.

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I was super prego during Klein Family Photos 2012 – Photo by Tina Rogers 

The Art of Picking Outfits.  Please don’t wear matching white shirts à la the Kardashians circa 1990.  Instead, coordinate the guys and girls and choose a color scheme.  For example in 2013, I happened to find the same blue gingham shirt for both Michael and Antonio.  Thank you baby Gap and Nordstrom’s.  Gingham is a busy pattern so I decided Babyzilla and I would wear something more neutral so it wouldn’t compete with the blue.  In 2014, I dressed the family in the least “matchy” set of outfits and the results were still great.  While sitting on the blanket, Michael and I discovered we could secretly tickle the kids from behind and managed to get Antonio to smile.  Babyzilla would only smize.  Nailed it!

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The Kardashians
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Babyzilla makes her debut in Klein Family Photos 2013 – Photo by Esther Huynh
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Klein Family Photo 2014 – Photo by Abby Knowles

Be Creative.  Two years ago, I got a wild hair and decided I wanted a theme.  My good friend Hannah was taking our photographs and came up with the idea to have a Mad Hatter tea party at our photoshoot.  I immediately loved the idea.  The kids were 1 and 4 at the time so the props were perfect in keeping them engaged.  And, once we had enough shots of us sitting at the table, we let the kids run around and took some action shots.

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Klein Family Photo 2013 – Photo by Hannah Piles
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Klein Photo 2013 – Photo by Hannah Piles

Set Your Standards Low.  Be flexible.  Especially with kids.  Babyzilla refuses to smile (or look at the camera) and Antonio can’t stop moving.  Yet somehow, we manage to pull off the unicorn of family pictures every year while also squeezing in some adoringly sweet sibling shots!  A good photographer will be patient and adjust to your kids.  They will know how to bribe your children into smiling, how to work with different poses, and will allow for multiple breaks.

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Klein Kids over the years.

Pinterest Inspiration.  I love any website or app that organizes the internet for me.  Pinterest does a great job of providing inspiration for absolutely anything you can think of.  I looked through Pinterest this year and found this picture where a family was wearing formal clothes instead of jeans and scarves.  I was immediately inspired for us get fancy for our family pictures!

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We got fancy for Klein Family Photo 2015 – Photo by Abby Knowles

The key to family pics is to just go with the flow.  You may be asked to truck through mud in high heels or climb around the rolling hills of a golf course and that’s OK.  Just smile and act natural.  In the end, you will end up with a beautiful snap shot in time of your loving family.  And it will all be worth it.  I promise!

Do you take annual family pics?  Share your advice in the comments section.

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

Normal People Can Dress Like Taylor Swift

 

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I don’t have Taylor Swift’s mega million-dollar voice but I do often feel like me and my band of 35 year-old girlfriends are just as cool as the songstress and her entourage of models.  And the girl knows how to dress!  Taylor’s fierce fashion style has evolved from shy Tennessee country girl, to New York street style hipster, and everything in between.  I was drawn to her style because she loves to take classic colors and pieces and spruce them up with something fun like a pop of color or a fun print.  I know what you’re thinking…Taylor Swift is 25, stands 5’10, and has legs for days – how can I pull off her style?!  Well, I’m 35, 5’3, and a size 8/10 and I’m going to show you how anyone can pull off an outfit like Ms. Taylor, regardless of body size.  This recent post on Popsugar by Samantha-Sutton inspired me to share with you my favorite Taylor Swift copycat outfits from my closet.  I took pieces that I already had and didn’t spend a dime!

Taylor and I both love the A-line or skater skirts.  This particular one in eggplant (it’s pleather!) was a steal from Lauren Conrad’s line at Khol’s.  It’s from last season but here is a similar one from this season.  Pair it with a black top and matching black Jessica Simpson booties and you’re ready for any social event.

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Nothing says preppy like classic stripes and denim.  Cut-off shorts are always in season, and I paired them with a pair of red Jessica Simpson pumps to add a pop of color.  It’s an effortless look that anyone can pull off.  Like Taylor, I don’t pay too much attention to all of those old fashion rules like, “Don’t wear horizontal lines” or “You can only wear white after Labor Day”.  The only rules to follow when it comes to shopping are 1) Is this a well made product at at reasonable price, and 2) Do I LOVE it?

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Taylor does not limit her style.  If she feels a little more rocker than preppy, her style definitely shows it.  I love that versatility in her style because my clothes tend to fit my mood.  And this pleather skirt from H&M, Beatles shirt, and knee high socks definitely fit my wilder side when I’m not donning suits for corporate America.

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Taylor’s signature look is red with stripes.  I found this perfect scalloped red skirt at Francesca’s this summer and it’s so comfortable and flattering.  I’ve paired it with a simple cropped top from Target but since I’m 5’3, it pretty much looks like a normal shirt.  That’s fine with me because I wouldn’t want anything to distract attention away form those adorable scallops!

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Taylor Swift’s award show dresses are to die for.  This particular cream and black number is elegant and screams feminine.  My Eliza J dress was a clearance find at Macy’s years ago.  It’s got a full skirt and a matching belt that cinches my waist nicely to show my curves.  I would buy every dress in the Eliza J collection if I could.  A pair of teal Lauren Conrad pumps complete the look.

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Last, I leave you with the retro 50’s inspired dark wash jeans and black top look that Taylor is often seen wearing.  I paired my look with a pair of Michael Antonio pumps in mint and some red lip gloss.  I love wearing heels, but you can copy Taylor and wear sensible ballet flats and still look amazing.  A perfectly put together casual look.  I can wear this outfit to work, a PTA meeting, or on a date night.

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I want to leave you today with one thought.  LOVE YOUR BODY!  We all struggle with image and body size, and I want all of you out there to embrace the stage you are in today and put on a Taylor Swift inspired outfit.  Leave comments on who inspires your everyday style, and share pictures of your Taylor Swift style!

Cheers!

Elisa Sig

Back to School Clothes for Kids

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Happy Back to School Day!  Today, I want to share with you my favorite place to shop for kid’s clothes where you get the most return for your investment.  I head to Gap Kids for my back to school shopping needs.  As you moms out there know, it feels like you have to buy clothes for your kids every couple of months which means you have to be smart about where you spend your money.

Cost. Gap Kids always has clothes on sale or clearance and their selection is great for elementary school aged kids. My son started second grade today (Wow!) and nearly every piece of clothing I bought for him came from our local Gap Kids outlet store. Shirts, shorts, pants, underwear, socks and jeans all came with a discounted price.

Style. My son is not picky about what he wears and I pick out is clothes 99% of the time (Fridays are Minecraft t-shirt day).  I know this luxury won’t last much longer but for now, I keep it simple. Gap Kids boy’s clothes range from preppy, to laid back, to sporty so there is a wide selection for every kind of kid preference.

Comfort & Durability. Did you know that Gap Kids come in slim, regular or husky sizes?  Perfect for any size kid.  And, their clothes are really well made to stand up to rough play in the playground.  The t-shirts are 100% cotton and super soft.  I’ve been known to try and squeeze into one of my son’s shirts.

Here’s my very proud 2nd Grader sporting the latest sales and clearance items from Gap Kids sprinkled with other pieces from Carter’s and Polo Kids!

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Here’s the Gap hiker shorts in a different color, worn three different ways…

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Where do you take your kids for Back to School shopping??  Share your shopping adventures with us below on our comments section!

Cheers,

Elisa Sig

My Favorite Work Outfits: Stylish Summer Dresses

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I want to wear my yoga pants all day everyday….but since the effect of my not-so-tiny heinie would be too much for corporate America, my outfit of choice during the summer season is a dress.  Dresses are so versatile and can fit and flatter any body shape and size, and also provide just enough breeze to keep cool in the heat. Plus, I have your typical curvy hourglass figure so I practically live in dresses because there are so many suitable options out there.  And, dresses are so easy!  Here are some tips to consider when choosing the right dress for the office:

Company culture.  Be conscious of office “norms”.  You don’t want to walk into a conservative corporate office in your favorite maxi if it will make you stand out in a negative way.  Instead, be bold with accessories or shoes to show your personality while choosing the perfect dress.

Length.  Cover your booty.  I have been known to push the envelope on length, but if you are questioning your skirt length, err on the side of conservative.  I tend to stick to right above the knee or right at the knee.  If your skirt is midway up your thigh when you sit down then it’s probably best to keep that as weekend attire.

Style.  Your dress should make you feel like a movie star.  Have fun with it and choose dresses that you will be comfortable in all day long.  Try to stay away from dresses that are too form fitting and leave nothing to the imagination.  There’s a reason why Victoria’s Secret is no longer selling “work attire”.  Instead, think of the versatility you have when wearing a dress.  Throw on a blazer or cardigan for a more formal look.  Wear sandals to dress it down.

Smile.  A smile is the best accessory you can wear with anything.  Be confident and say “Thank you” when you receive compliments on your awesome style.  After all, you are probably rocking it!

Where is your favorite place to go dress shopping??  Let us know on the comments below!
My “Yes” choices:
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Formal – White House Black Market dress and Banana Republic blazer

White House Black Market dress and Banana Republic blazer

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Everyday dress – White House Black Market

White House Black Market dress (similar)

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Casual Friday – Old Navy sundress

Similar dress to my Old Navy sundress from last season.

Here are my “No” choices, obviously way too short and/or too tight.

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Cheers,

Elisa Sig