Buy The Damn Dress

Do you ever have those moments where you put on a dress and think to yourself, “Damn, self. You look great.” I do. Rarely. But when I do, I fall in love.

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I spent a year in college “fashion blogging”. I liked writing and creating, and it definitely scored me some internships, but it totally turned my love of fashion off. I wasn’t writing for myself, I was writing to gain popularity in a world of Insta-worthy bloggers. There was a strict formula to follow, and it never felt genuine to me. I still have the site URL active, but have all the posts hidden. This is better for the world, really, it turned to absolute shit toward the end. I also stopped loving getting dressed in the morning. My uniform of basic tanks and cutoff denim shorts has remained routine for the past two years.

But lets get back on track. Last summer, I was walking around Disney Springs, wasting time and scouting photo shoot locations. I wandered into Free People, as one does. I planned on buying nothing, as one does. Then I fell in love, as one does. Toward the front of the store, a rack of gauzy dresses pulled me in like a Venus flytrap. I’m a sucker for dresses I can twirl in.

I pulled two off the rack- a white tank dress that looked like it was made for a Coachella mummy, and a little periwinkle number that screamed fairy princess. “Just to try on” I assured myself. LOL Mads, good one.

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SURPRISE, BITCH! YOU LOOK FAB! The dresses were made for my thin frame, and made me feel like a summery mermaid. But could I justify spending upwards of $150 on a single dress just because I finally felt self-confident for the first time since getting back home from vacation?

I left the store with a handful of photos I’d taken in the dressing room, and booked my inspired ass to the fabric story in search of some airy cotton fabric. I was going to make my own little knockoff. $27 later, I was home, armed with five yards of fabric and some assorted lace trim. I started cutting, no pattern. I could calculate mentally, right? I had a vision. Two snips in, and I knew my imagination wasn’t gonna cut it. I could probably make my own dress eventually, but I had been texting photos of the FP dresses to my friends all night. It was like in every romantic comedy where the ingenue has her first encounter with the hottie of her dreams. Those dresses were all I could think about until I fell asleep, and they were the first thing I thought about when I woke up the next morning.

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You know what I did next? I went back. I got my periwinkle dream dress. Did seeing the number on the credit card authentication screen bum me out? A little. But I had just gotten a long-awaited paycheck, I was going to be fine.

I went to a bathroom, changed into the dream dress, and felt a wave of calm confidence wash over me. I felt like a queen again.

So what’s the moral of this story? #treatyoself

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Ultamate Rewards Haul

To my friends- if you don’t shop at Ulta for makeup, you’re a moron.

To any strangers out there- see above.

Ulta Beauty’s rewards program is the best out there. You receive points per dollar spent, which can be redeemed for free stuff THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT in the form of money off future purchases. For a full breakdown of how it all works, check out Ulta’s website. The way I see it though, there is one way to redeem points. Save them up! 2000 points equals $125 off a purchase, aka $125 of any store merchandise that you pick. Not just a sad thumbnail-sized blush sample (looking at you, Sephora).

Points add up quickly, especially if you take advantage of deals like 2x, 3x, 5x, and even 10x points when Ulta offers them. When I get an email saying “5x points on all Neutrogena products”, you’d better believe that I stock up on face soap and makeup wipes. I buy everything at Ulta that I can (razor blades are expensive and I’d rather get points at Ulta than buy them elsewhere), and use the Salon at Ulta on the rare occasion where I get my hair done.

I’ve hit the 2000 point mark a few times now, and every time I’m excited to redeem them. A lot of my makeup collection comes from point redemption, including my Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette, Urban Decay Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette, five Urban Decay Vice Lipsticks, a handful of brushes, a few foundations, eyeliners, and mascaras. Last week, it was time for another shopping spree!

This is probably my most reasonable haul to date. I’ve been thinking about buying a 1″ curling iron for awhile, and was pleasantly surprised to find this one on sale. The razor blades were on sale too, so I stocked up. The two items I’m most excited about are the Too Faced Natural Matte and the Ardell Magnetic Lashes.

I wear eye shadow almost every day, and prefer more “earthy” and “natural” tones. Too Faced makes my favorite shadows (I love that they’re scented), so this little guy was what I wanted to bring home next. I’m loving it so far!

The magnetic lashes are… interesting. There is a learning curve involved with getting them on that I definitely haven’t mastered yet, but I believe in myself! They looked good enough for me to perform with them on the other day, and I really liked how clean they are. I left my makeup on between jobs, and it was nice to be able to remove my lashes for a more casual job #2 look. I would recommend them to anyone who is up for learning something new!

And all of the above I got for free because I know how to use the system. Occasionally out of convenience I’ll pick up a nail polish at Target, and sometimes I need a product that is exclusively sold at Sephora. Nine times out of ten though, I beauty shop at Ulta. The shopping sprees are worth it!

Thrift Store Treasure: Black Midi Skirt

Midi skirt for me at least…

This XXL black maxi skirt wasn’t even a diamond in the rough, I just gathered the fabric tightly around the drawstring and viola! A fluffy, flowy, witchy black midi skirt. No alterations required and perfect for a tall girl!

Naturally the only photos I have of this skirt on my body are mirror selfies I took on break at work, but they do the trick! Pairing the skirt with a casual tee and packing on the accessories made me feel like a fortune teller. This casual work outfit is perfect for keeping my legs warm in the air conditioning of the store!

Trader Joe’s Trip

So I know going to Trader Joe’s isn’t what most people would consider a “hobby”, but I’m not like most people. I love you to Trader Joe’s. The store is laid out in a way that encourages me to buy fresher and healthier foods than I do anywhere else. The customers are civilized, and the employees are helpful but don’t get in your way or push unnecessary small talk.

My shopping list usually includes a lot of fruits, veggies, some sort of bread/wrap/tortilla, and juice. I always indulge in a few treats per week since Trader Joe’s has so many fun little things.

I couldn’t resist picking up another tiny succulent to add to my growing collection- he was right by the entrance and only cost me $2. Isn’t he precious?

I’m a sucker for bottled sodas- even on a rainy day holed up in my apartment I feel like I’m on a patio in the Midwest (there’s my nostalgic side kicking in).

And because I’m a summer girl, I had to pick up a campfire s’mores bar. This time of year I miss summer camp, and little things like this bring me back.

Treat yo’ self moment? Absolutely.

Mamma Mia! Now I Need This Skirt

I’m really, really, ridiculously excited for this summer’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. The original film is one of my favorite movie-musicals, and I have a very fond memory of going to see it for a second time in the theater with my sister after we had bought the soundtrack and memorized EVERY lyric. We had the whole place to ourselves (ok… my mom and her best friend were there too), and we ran through the aisles singing and dancing along like the dramatic theater kids we were.

Ten years later, and Mamma Mia! is a movie I still watch regularly. It is beautifully filmed and choreographed, and makes me nostalgic for a life I never lived. It also makes me want to put on a flowy skirt and twirl around on the beach.

That being said- lets talk about this little outfit on Young Donna.

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THAT SKIRT! Holy shit! I need that skirt. Its a perfect hippie pumpkin fantasy, and PERFECT to show how fun Donna was as a young woman. I crave that feeling of whimsy. That feeling of freedom. That summer feeling. I want to kick my shoes off, run through a meadow, and answer to nobody but myself.

I can’t wait to see more of the costumes in this film and incorporate late 1970’s style into my own wardrobe. For now, I’ll be scouring the Free People website for skirts fit for adventure.