Thursday, February 26, 2015

Alice + Olivia

Every once in a while, you have to do something for yourself that you wouldn't normally do. Eat a Big Mac, get a massage, take a personal day. Not only does it feel good to change things up, but it's crucial to celebrate you - in whatever way makes you happy. I try to do little things every once in a while to quietly celebrate little personal accomplishments. Maybe it's as simple as grabbing a skinny vanilla latte on a Friday morning instead of brewing coffee at home. But some days, the treat is a little...fancier. While shopping the other day, I spotted these amazing Alice + Olivia pants, and I knew they would be my spring season treat to myself. 

Now, it's also important to have some self-control. I tried these on with a great sheer crop top, but after committing to the pants, I opted for a slightly less-amaze Forever 21 top instead. I feel so fortunate that my hard work over the years has paid off and allowed me to secure a great job that affords me the opportunity to occasionally spoil myself. It makes me so proud of myself to be able to grab a little treat now and again - whether it's at Saks or Starbucks. I hope you do the same.

Photography: Katie Fiedler

Wearing // pants: Alice + Olivia // top: Forever 21 // bag: Chanel // sunglasses: Ray Ban // lipstick: NARS "Bette"
 seven styles 
I definitely have a weakness for great Alice + Olivia pieces (see one of my favorite skirts here and here). Check out 7 other coveted styles here:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seven bags for Spring

7 Spring Bags
I love nothing more than a good handbag. Ok, I love my dog more than handbags...and my boyfriend...ok my boyfriend is a close second after my dog.

You get the point.

But when it comes to accessories, there is nothing I love more than a great handbag. And there are so many amazing styles and colors this season. I'm very torn between wanting the bright hues or muted pastels, so I included a few of each in my roundup of coveted styles.

Whatever you're carrying around with you this season (literally or figuratively), make sure you take note of the colorful and beautiful world all around you.

Featured // 1) Valentino // 2) Loeffler Randall // 3) Halogen // 4) Gigi New York // 5) Kate Spade // 6) Matt & Nat // 7) Zara

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ready for Spring

Here in Charleston, we are getting a little closer to spring than the rest of the country (we're preparing for single digits later this week, but definitely nowhere near the negative-temps in the Midwest!). I have said it once and I will say it again - I love the fact that no matter how cold and frigid the winter seems, spring always comes through. Snow melts, flowers bloom, and the sun shines. If this season of your life has been particularly trying, please remember that sunny skies await. 

The skies weren't so sunny when Katie and I shot these pictures this weekend. I was cold, tired, and ready to head in. But when we were shooting at this cute little home downtown, we got a nice little surprise. The owner pulled in the driveway just as I walked up her back stairs. As soon as she got out of her car, I quickly apologized and told her that these were just pictures for my little style blog. Without hesitation, she invited us in to warm up and proceeded to show us her collection of antiques in her quaint (but lovely) home. We left her home with a little more history of Charleston, a handbag full of M&Ms (yup, she dumped them right in), and warmth (in our bodies and in our hearts). What a nice reminder that no matter how tired and cold and worn down you are, a sweet little surprise may be just around the corner...or in our case, driveway. 

Stay warm.

Wearing // striped shirt: Gap (old) // white shirt: halogen (old) // jeans and shoes: Madewell // handbag: Kate Spade // sunglasse: Ray-Ban // jewelry: Hermes, Michele, David Yurman

Photography // Katie Fiedler

 seven styles
I love the pop of pink in the Kate Spade bag (graciously borrowed from my mom). Here are seven other styles to add a little color to your spring wardrobe.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Instead of doing my typical "Valentine's Day Date Outfits" or "7 Gifts for your Valentine," I decided to change it up. Today I celebrate one of my very favorite holidays by sharing a little about the people I love and who have made my life special every single day, not just on February 14th. 

No matter who you're spending the day with -- your significant other, your dog, your family, or your friends -- I wish that it is a day filled with warmth, happiness, and a full heart. Here's to celebrating the love in the world every day!

This guy walked into my life two and a half years ago and totally threw me for a loop. His kindness, respect for others, and personal drive make me proud to be his girlfriend. He has seen me through some really rough days where most people would have walked away. But he was there, ready to listen, dry a few (ok, many) tears, and even drive me around in his pickup truck just because I needed to get out of the house and didn't want to be alone. He stuck by me until I was ready to be in a place to be there for him as well.  Now, almost a year into our relationship, I can't imagine our life any other way. You're the best Jon Ryan, and I'm so appreciative for you.

I decided to get Ruby Louise so that I would have a companion when I moved down to South Carolina. But this little girl has become so much more than that! She brings a smile to my face every day and I honestly believe that she was a little gift, sent to help heal my heart. Even though she barks for attention, sticks her whole face in the water bowl, and occasionally leaves little surprises by my bedroom door, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Ok, I had to throw this one in because, seriously? I can't even. JR and Ruby - my two little babes.

I have a very high standard to live up to in a relationship. Perhaps I have questioned relationships in the past because I have such a great example in which to compare. My parents don't have a perfect relationship, but they love each other, they respect each other, and they stick by each other through everything. I can only hope that I have half as much happiness that they have had. This is a picture of them celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It's not the best quality picture, and my mom might even joke about me including it in this post, but I couldn't write about Valentine's Day and the people I love without including them. Plus, I love how happy they look!

I am lucky enough not only to have amazing parents, but also two sisters who are my best friends. Trust me, there have been screaming matches over AOL time, stealing clothes, and who gets the car on a Friday night. But I know that no matter what, the only two people I will ever be able to turn to and rely on are my two beautiful sisters. We are all so different, yet very much the same. And I hope that the best parts of them show up, even a little bit, in me.

Now, I have two sisters already. But this group of girls is honestly the next best thing. These girls are my YABs - I met them when I moved to Milwaukee and we immediately clicked. It is so rare that a group of ten girls get along so well and feel so connected. After a few years in Wisconsin, many of us scattered to different cities for various reasons. But, without a doubt, whenever we get together, we act as though nothing has changed. I love these girls like family and am so #blessed that they are in my life.

More sisters? Could one person be so lucky!? My sorority sisters are the funniest, smartest, craziest group of girls I know. And there are a few more very special ones who could not make it to Vegas for this picture! Without a doubt, I will always have a shoulder to lean on, a full drink in my hand, and a college memory to laugh at. 

One of the benefits of living in various cities and having attended a few rounds of school is that I have four solid friend groups to call on. But before college, Milwaukee, and grad school, there were these girls. The faces in this picture represent some of my longest and dearest friendships. And though we no longer live right down the block from each other, we keep in touch and spend time together as if nothing has changed. Forever young, forever free. 
My best friend, my free bird, and my Cali girl! Taylor and I have known each other for over 17 years and I know that the next 17 will include her by my side. She is one of the strongest, bravest, most beautiful souls, and I so admire her spirit and sense of self. I don't know where I would be without her tough love and loving advice.
And finally...the girls who saw me though case competitions, final exams, and job interviews. This group is full of bad ass women who will undoubtedly go on to run the world. No matter where I am or what's going on, I know I can pick up the phone and call any of them for career advice, debates on Bravo tv shows, or wine and restaurant recommendations. I admire so much about each of them and I hope that I have inspired them a little as they have inspired me.

Now, things change. People move, grow, and adapt. I am not pretending to have perfect relationships with everyone pictured above, or claim that we have remained as close as we could have. But the point is, each person has played a role in my life and has shaped me into a person who is capable of love, appreciation, and respect for others - and for that, today and every day, I am grateful. I have a lot of love for many people who have played various roles in my life, and today is about celebrating all of them. For the cynics out there claiming that Valentine's Day is a holiday devised by greeting card and candy companies to capitalize on the materialistic nature of American society (umm, what?), here is what I have to say: Any holiday dedicated to celebrating the love in the world (past, present, and future) is a-okay in my book. 

Love to you, love to your family, love to your friends from all walks of life. 


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Birthday S&S!

One year ago today, S&S launched! I first want to thank you for stopping by to check things out! Whether you have spotted an Instagram post here or there, whether this is your first time taking a peek, or whether you have been following along all year, it means a lot to me to have your support! The little compliments I receive in passing from family or friends make me so happy and give me the confidence to keep pursuing this little hobby of mine. 

To celebrate, I decided to treat myself to some ice cream! I headed downtown to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream and started by sampling almost every flavor there. Jeni's has locations around the country and makes its ice cream with grass-grazed milk and local produce. I had heard a lot about Jeni's in Charleston and spent the first ten minutes sampling flavors (hello brambleberry crisp and toasted brioche with butter and raspberry jam). I finally settled on the lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt and one of the salty caramel ice cream sandwiches. After eating that quite quickly, we also tried wildberry lavender, pistachio and honey, and black currant lambic sorbet. So amazing.

This past year was full of playing with fonts, photography, colors, coding, fashion, food, textures, and timing. Seven&Stitch has definitely been a learning experience and in a state of constant change and evolution.  I started this blog for the simple purpose of having something to work toward and focus on during a tough life transition. It was something that I created 100% on my own and for myself. I never imagined it would turn into a creative hobby and a way to meet some amazing people. 

I have learned so much since I sat typing at this computer a year ago, and most of that extends beyond how to use blogger or photoshop. Here are my 7 (life) lessons learned while blogging:

1. Be kind, especially to yourself.  Not every outfit translates well to a blog post. Not every sentence comes out exactly as it should. In life, mistakes are unavoidable. The important thing to remember is that when you make a mistake, or when things don't exactly go as planned, be kind to yourself. Learn to forgive, learn to accept, and learn to grow. 

2. Confidence is key. It's a scary thing to put yourself out there once a week for the world to see! You can obsess over what people may be thinking, or you can have the confidence in yourself to direct your own thoughts and be proud of the hard work that went into each post, project, task or job. 

3. Don't compare yourself to others. It is so easy to want to emulate success stories. But how valuable is success when it comes at the price of being your genuine, happy, beautiful, quirky self?! Define what success means for you -- whether it's 500 or 50,000 instagram followers -- and don't get caught up in asking whether that's enough for someone else. 

4. Never stop evolving. It's very easy to stick with something that works. And while consistency in branding or in style is important, never stop questioning. Never stop trying new things. You may be surprised when something great comes out of a seemingly small change!

5. Do what you can - quality over quantity. Sometimes I get caught up in getting at least one post out a week or pushing myself to post when I'm not ready. The beauty of a blog is it's all yours! Maybe you only get one post out per month, but if you worked hard on that one post and are proud of it, that's all that matters. 

6. Have fun! It's so important to have a little fun with whatever you do. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself every once in a while. If you start to take blogging, or life, too seriously, you will miss out on the moments that make you laugh. 

7. Do what makes you happy! A few weeks ago I told my boyfriend "I don't know if I should keep going with my blog. It's a lot of work and I don't know if anyone even looks at it." His response wasn't "do whatever you want" or "yah, just let it go if it's too much work." He said "does it make you happy?" and my response was yes. He said "well who cares who looks at it or if it ever becomes 'successful.' If it makes you happy, why would you stop doing it?" I am so lucky to have someone who provides such great support and perspective on a daily basis. He's a keeper and for now, so is Seven&Stitch.

wearing // top: Rebecca Taylor (old) // leggings: White House Black Market // coat: Kate Spade // boots: Stuart Weitzman 5050 // bag: Louis Vuitton // jewelry: David Yurman, Michele, Hermes

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