Eee I'm so excited to finally be able to share this post with you! I've been working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready, and it's time now for me to share what I've been up to: I'm doing the 30x30 challenge!

For those of you who don't know, the 30x30 challenge is a popular style blog series originated by Kendi of Kendi Everyday. In an attempt to get better acquainted with her closet, a blogger chooses 30 items to remix into 30 outfits, and then shares them over the course of 30 days. This is a great way to discover new uses for underused pieces in your wardrobe to help you get the most out of what you own.

I've resisted the challenge before because it felt like a lot of work, and I figured I'd be upset that I couldn't wear XYZ on the day I wanted to wear it. I think part of the problem is that I've always considered doing it either in the summer when it's way too hot and I just want to wear cut-offs and a tank, or in the winter where 30 items don't go as far. This challenge is really perfect for spring and fall because the weather is generally nicer and it's easier to mix warm weather and cool weather pieces for transitional looks, depending on the day.

The other reason I've hesitated to do the challenge is because it feels like every blogger has done it. Who wants to see another one of these? Sometimes I forget that many, maybe even most, of my followers aren't bloggers. Since I count my followers using Bloglovin' and Blogger, it's easy for me to forget about the people who keep up with my blog who don't follow it in an official sort of way, whether it's by clicking through Facebook or Twitter or typing the URL directly into the browser. These are the people I began blogging for in the first place, and the people who probably get the most out of outfit posts anyway. Remixing outfits is a learned skill, and it's something I want to do a better job of guiding through the use of my blog. 

Sorry, that was a little bit bloggexistenial...let's get onto my 30 picks!

For the next 30 days, I'll be showing you 30 outfits using only these 30 items. It's going to be a challenge (obvi), but also so fun! Also, HUGE shout out to Briley Noel for putting in so much time and talent into making this challenge awesome!

30x30 | my picks

I haven't shared a product that works in a (really) long time, but this one needs a post of its own. I'm actually surprised I haven't written about it before, because I'm a longtime user and lover of the product! Okay, I'm sure you're like "Nicole, what the heck are you talking about?!"

Only the best dry shampoo on the planet, my dear. It's called Batiste. I first heard about it from a friend who played roller derby, and would always show up looking flawless. Her secret (besides being naturally wonderful): Batiste.
I had a short stint with dry shampoo early in college when my mom gave me a sample-size bottle of Tresummé. I hear from a lot of people that this is the only brand of dry shampoo they've ever tried. Let me tell you, if you're one of those people, put that can in the trash right now and go out and get you some Batiste. The Tresummé dry shampoo left my hair wet, grey, and looking dirtier than before I used it. Yuck. Batiste, on the other hand, makes me look like I just got an amazing blow out at a dry bar. It doesn't leave a film or heavy powder in my hair, and it brushes out really nicely. Plus, it smells amazing (and comes in a bazillion different scents)!

One of the complaints I frequently hear about dry shampoo is that you end up with a bunch of white gunk in your hair. This is especially an issue for dark-haired ladies. Well, Batiste anticipated your needs and created different sprays for different hair colors. This ensures that the dry shampoo won't look flat or even grey on your hair, but rather will blend and look fresh.

I keep a can of the Blush scent with me always, especially in the summer months when my bangs get sticky the second I walk out my front door. Whether you use it after the gym or in the morning when you're running late for work, Batiste is there to help you rock Day 4 hair like Day 2 hair (because, let's be real, Day 2 hair is the best hair).

You can pick up Batiste at your local drug or beauty store (here's a list of the retailers who carry it!). A lot of places sell it for buy one, get one half, so make sure to check for coupons!

This is not a sponsored post, I just really love this product. All opinions, as always, are my own.

// previous products that work posts: Clean&Clear Persa Gel 10, CoverGirl LineExact

products that work | batiste dry shampoo

tee: Old Navy // skirt: Forever 21 (similar) // shoes: thrifted Converse // headscarf: Madewell (similar) // glasses: BonLook // lipstick: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

photos by Briley Noel

Of all the Spice Girls, Sporty is the one that I've always related to the least. I'm just not a sporty girl. I mean, I throw on a pair of kicks with my skirt and call the outfit sporty, but lord knows I could not sport in a skirt this short! 

I would have loved to run around the bases and pretend to swing a bat in this outfit, but there was a baseball game going on at the next field over, so Briley and I settled for the soccer field with the old men running around the track watching us. I swear, it is 100000x easier to have people watch you taking photos when you're not alone.

On another note, I'm really excited to wear this skirt a ton during the spring. Spring doesn't last very long in Texas, and this skirt is corduroy, so I'm worried it will be too warm to wear in the summer. It is a very swingy skirt though, so I might be able to get away with it--especially if I spin when I wear it, which I always do! 

Style Honestly

sporty spice

I'm in the market for a new chambray shirt, y'all! My beloved has gotten worn out so hard that the sleeves won't even stay rolled anymore. It is by far my most used article of clothing, so I want to make sure I get a solid replacement. However, I'm having trouble deciding what I want in a new shirt! The one I have is a medium wash from American Eagle with white buttons and two pockets. I like that it doesn't have the roll tabs, since I wear it down sometimes. I also love that I can wear it casually as well as dressed up. Here are some of the ones I've been dreaming about!
light wash | 1 2 3 4
medium wash | 1 2 3 4
dark wash 1 2 3 4

I initially thought maybe I'd go for a medium wash again or even a darker wash, but I'm sort of loving the look of some of these light wash options. I rock the denim on denim look a lot, so I wouldn't want to go too dark. I also like the look of interesting buttons like pearl snaps or gold washers, but it's kind of hard to tell online if the metals are silver or gold. 

Do you have a favorite chambray shirt? What do you love about it? Is there a store that carries a shirt that fits super well? Do you like any of the ones above? Halp!

how do you chambray?

photo by Briley Noel

This was supposed to be a post about my weekend spent at Austin's Women's Empowerment Conference. However, I ended up not going going, so I can't write about the awesome women who spoke, connected, and learned. What I can write about is the decision I made, and why I don't regret it.

I often read inspirational quotes on Pinterest and Instagram about pushing yourself past your limits, leaving your comfort zone, and never giving up. To be perfectly honest, I don't like these sentiments. I understand their purpose, and I understand their place. What I don't subscribe to is not listening to yourself and your needs, and not valuing your comfort zone. I reject people who make me feel ashamed for not leaving it.

I've been feeling extremely crispy (a term people in the social services field use to describe feeling a little burnt out, because burnout has a lot of negative and dangerous connotations) lately, and have really needed a day off from work. For the last several weeks, I've been going and going and going, even on the weekends, so I knew I needed to dedicate some time to just laying around and recharging.

I scheduled both Friday and today off of work to give myself that time. And then I packed both of those days with plans of things I wanted and needed to get done that I haven't had time to do because of work. When I found out about WE Con, I hesitated for about a minute before registering because I was reluctant to give up my weekend. The workshops looked awesome, so I went ahead and signed up. 

I spent Friday shooting outfits all day with Briley, going to a photography exhibit at St. Edward's, and then spending time with rad babes at a bar on the East side. By time 2 am on Friday night rolled around, I knew going to the conference on Saturday was less and less realistic. I had a friend in town who I really wanted to meet for brunch, and my mom had asked for my help up in Pflugerville. Those plans sounded a lot more chill and realistic, so I skipped the Saturday workshops, completely intending to show up on Sunday, ready for learning and being inspired.

Saturday ended up being incredibly long, and Dago was running a fever by the end of the night. I haven't spent much time with him lately, and I've spent almost no time at home. I was running on zero, and I was really started to dread all of the social interaction in the coming day. I set my alarm for Super Early to make sure I could leave on time for the conference, but still didn't get to sleep til Super Late because I was worried about Dago feeling so sick.

My alarm went off the first time Sunday morning, and I hit snooze. I snoozed three more times, each time trying to imagine myself going to the conference. I just couldn't make it happen in my mind. I know myself well enough now that this means my body is trying to tell me I need something else. A lot of people might equate this situation to giving up, or giving in. What I believe it means is valuing what my body has to say. 

Ultimately, I needed some alone time to recharge from the immense social interaction I've had lately, I needed to not be advocating for anyone for myself. I needed to sleep. And I did. I slept more hours than I didn't on Sunday, and I needed it so badly. I got to lay around with Dago and Contessa and not plan outfits or engage in the heaviness that comes with my job. I ate Nutella on waffles and drank a lot of water. I closed my eyes and curled up under a blanket. And it felt awesome. This weekend, my comfort zone was exactly where I needed to be.

comfort zone

sweater: Banana Republic Outlet (similar) // top: Forever 21 (similar) // skirt: J.Crew Factory // shoes: thrifted (similar) // umbrella: borrowed from Briley Totes // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

It's finally, officially, spring! And with spring comes showers. Briley and I knew we'd be dodging raindrops to photograph this outfit, so she brought along her favorite bubble umbrella--and I'm so glad she did! We had so much fun taking these photos!

With spring in the air, I wanted to lighten up my outfit a little. I had the idea to pair my polka dot skirt with my green blouse earlier this week when I was planning a St. Patty's day outfit, and then I threw on my yellow sweater to complete the look. I adore this sweater, and I really don't wear it enough. If you look closely, you can see that it has little white polka dots on it! At this rate, I may as well change the blog name to Polka Dots Like a Girl, amirite? Jaykay...

I hope y'all aren't sick of seeing this skirt yet, because I have a bunch of outfits planned for it next month. I've got something big in the works, so be sure to stay tuned 'round these parts!

// skirt previously worn here and here

spring showers

jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // dress: Forever 21 (similar) // belt: Gap Outlet (similar) // shoes: LuLu*s (similar) // bag: Forever 21 (similar) // glasses: BonLook

Photos by Briley Noel

It's time for another round of many days, many ways link up with Danielle of Goodwillista! Last month, I showed off a bunch of ways to wear a fur vest. This month, I went with another outerwear favorite and styled my utility jacket. I actually wear this baby all.the.time, but it rarely shows up on the blog. That's definitely going to change with spring beginning! I found my utility jacket at the Gap Outlet in the middle of last summer when it was steamin' hot in Texas. I wore it as often as I could inside the office at work, but it was just too warm to wear it out for the most part.

When I was coming up with an outfit for today's link up, I definitely looked back at how I'd worn it on the blog in the past. I've worn it with a full skirt, a floral dress, a white dress, and boyfriend jeans. I've worn it with skinny jeans and heeled boots, and skinny jeans and tall boots. I even went edgy once and worn it with leggings and combat boots. Because I usually wear it in some variation of outfits I've already featured, I wanted to do something a little special and style a little black dress look.

I've actually had the rest of this look, minus the jacket, in mind since I bought the dress. In fact, I brought the dress home and immediately put together the outfit, but I've never worn it out. It never felt quite complete. It was such a duh moment for me when I tried it on with the utility jacket because it went from being basic to bloggable. It's classic with a little edge. It's perfect for going out on a spring night when it's too chilly for bare arms, but I still want to be dressed up.

I could have come up with a bunch more outfits with the jacket, but I want to be able to blog a lot of them at a later time, in another season. For now, here are 8 ways to style a utility jacket:

So, are you convinced yet that a utility jacket is a necessary staple in your closet? Don't forget to link up and check out what other bloggers remixed below! Be sure to follow Danielle and I, and add the button (in the sidebar) to your own post when linking up!

many days, many ways: utility jacket

When Janice Chan of the Plan A Project contacted me last week about collaborating to promote her Kickstarter, I was effing stoked. It's not often I'm contacted about products I truly believe in by creators who totally get it. Let me explain....

things i love:
empowered women
safe sex
cute accessories

things i don't love:
shame and stigma
being unprepared
uncute accessories

Janice and her Plan A Project get it. The Plan A Project is Janice's line of elegant, adorable, totally practical condom carrying cases. (You know, to help you be able to use Plan A so you don't have to use Plan B. Brilliant, right?) Women all over are shamed out of carrying condoms because they are seen as slutty or easy...just because they want to be prepared to engage in safe sex.

Did you know that in New York City, carrying condoms while female can be considered as ipso facto evidence of prostitution, and that the woman can be arrested on the spot? Just because they want to be prepared to engage in safe sex.

This stigma around being a condom-carrying citizen while also being female is extremely problematic. It teaches women that they shouldn't want to engage in sex. It teaches them that they have no control over whether or not that sex they have is safe. It teaches women that men are the only ones allowed to have, enjoy, and even anticipate sex. 

So where does the Plan A Project come in? Hear it from Janice herself: 
"I was getting ready to go out one night while chatting with my roommate, joking about how silly I felt stashing condoms in a nice leather business card case so that I'd have some on hand in an organized way. My roommate laughed and replied, 'Yeah, I always have to put mine in a makeup bag or something.' 

I did a Google search, then some more intensive follow up searches, but to my surprise all the condom case products out there seemed to be designed with men in mind. Plastic, metal, biker-tooled rough leather...a far cry from the carefully curated accessories a city woman carries on a night out."

Ladies, I've carried one of these uncute condom cases before. It loudly rattled around in my bag, drawing unwanted and unnecessary attention to the fact that I had the case in the first place. Eventually, I just started sticking my condoms back in my wallet, where they fall out and rip open all the time. It basically defeats the whole purpose of carrying them.

So Janice got to work. "Inspired by the simple and elegant design of the envelope-shaped navy blue patent leather business card case I had used for the past few years, I drew up blueprints for a condom case while specifically keeping the realistic modern woman in mind:

> I made it sleek, to fit in small clutch bags.
> I try to use fashionable, sophisticated materials, so the case looks and feels like another elegant accessory.
> I paid an equal amount of attention to the functionality -- the case is sized to allow carriage of up to 3 standard sized condoms, and the magnetic snap is designed to provide secure closure without putting the contents at risk of damage."

One of my favorite things about Plan A Project is that it's entirely sex positive. You can choose to carry your condoms in a chic little leather pouch and feel empowered and stylish, or you can opt for the clear carrying cases and not let anyone make you feel ashamed for carrying them at all. I love that you have options (what can I say, I'm a girl who loves her right to choose) between being discreet and being bold, and that you don't have to feel ashamed for choosing either one.

So how can you get one of these beauties? Well, first Janice needs a little help. Production costs are a lot for one woman to handle, especially one who is trying to supply all the women with all the fab condom carrying cases. Plus, she wants to be able to continue to improve the product as customers start providing feedback so that it really is something you want to carry around.

If this sounds like a product and purpose you can get behind, please consider backing the Plan A Project on Kickstarter! The fundraiser ends in two weeks on April 3, so hurry and pledge as soon as possible! When you do, you get some really cool swag, and if you contribute enough, you get cases! Go do it!

If you want to get to know Janice a little better before getting into bed with her (product), as well as her project, you can check out an awesome interview on Neon Notebook and a hilarious video promoting her product this past week at SXSW.
All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for this post (except a new friend in Janice!).

plan a

sweater: Target // top: Lauren Conrad for Kohls // shorts: old Forever 21 // tights: Target // boots: Nordy Rack // glasses: BonLook // necklace: Bip & Bop

Photos by Briley Noel

I'll be honest: I don't know a lot about the true meaning of St. Patrick's Day, but I know that I don't like getting pinched. I started brainstorming green outfits for today and got worried that I didn't have anything to wear. Then I realized that I actually wear green pretty frequently, but I wear it as outerwear: my favorite green sweater, my green utility jacket, and my green peacoat.

In college, I used to rock the shorts-over-tights look almost daily throughout the fall and winter. Now that I have a relatively big girl job, I don't wear it as often, but it's still an easy weekend outfit when I'm sick of wearing pants and I don't feel like wearing a skirt or dress. 

This particular outfit was inspired (per usual) by a look Holly posted. I swapped the stripes for polka dots and the oxfords for boots. I liked the outfit so much, I wore it to my friend's housewarming party, and then another time to brunch.

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Or do you, like me, participate just enough to not get pinched?

// sweater previously worn here, here, here, here, and here
// polka dot blouse previously worn here and here
// Don't forget to get your many days, many ways posts ready for the link up this Wednesday Feb 19!

easy being green

I've often heard people of great peace talk about mantras, but I never could figure out how to come up with one of my own. There are equations and recipes of language for crafting a mantra that perpetuates balance an harmony, but to be honest, it never felt real to me. 

I think I've figured it out, though. A mantra is supposed to ground you when you're feeling like you're spinning out of the ozone. It's supposed to give you clarity and calmness without any external force. It's about listening to yourself. 

I posted a Facebook status in honor of International Women's Day last Saturday, and I inadvertently realized my own mantra. I thought sharing might help you find something that grounds you and brings you peace. 

be fierce, be honest, trust your struggle, support a sister, love yourself. 

These five pieces have been racing along the tracks of my mind for days now. They feel more real for me than anything. If that's not a mantra, I don't know what is.

be fierce // For me, being fierce is about confidence. It's about laughing with my whole belly, wearing lipstick, and speaking without being asked. It's the glimmer in my eye when I have an idea, or when I'm feeling inspired or beautiful. 

be honest // Authenticity is key. Time spent covering up who I am is time exhausted. Being forthcoming not only empowers me, but it empowers others. My voice is the loudest when I speak the truth. 

trust your struggle // This actually comes from an image I found on Pinterest a while back. Every time I read it, it means something different to me. It's a reminder that, whatever I'm going trough, there's another side and I'm going to come out stronger, wiser, and more enlightened having experienced the pain. I am who I am now because of the struggles I've overcome, and no one can take that from me. 

support a sister // Sisterhood is what I believe in, above all else. My purpose in life is to stand in solidarity with my sisters in whatever way I'm able. 

love yourself // I know that before I try to lift up a sister, I have to lift up myself. I have to be tender with my body and mind, spirit and soul. I have to nurture myself, because I am valuable and because I am deserving of love. 

I find strength in my mantra. I find understanding in my mantra. My mantra is a revolution inside of me.

my mantra

Are you the girl who chooses classic looks over fast fashion fads? Scallops are the perfect spring trend for your investment. Sleek and chic pieces are scattered throughout your favorite retailers with an extra detail that takes them from ordinary to special. Some of my favorites are work wear items that would otherwise be pretty basic, but when the edges are scalloped, the volume is turned right up to eleven.

Here are a few of my favorite scalloped pieces this spring.

I'd love a pair of scalloped shorts and a pretty scalloped satchel to just appear in my life. 

Do scallops make your heart skip a beat? Which scalloped item are you hoping to add to your spring closet?

// see what else is trending | daisy print / floral kiminos

on trend | scalloped edges

I mentioned in my small goals post for March that I've been starting to help friends and coworkers get more use out of their closets. One of the things I talk about a lot is how I use Pinterest to come up with outfits and remix different items in my closet. Constantly, I hear from people that they don't really get Pinterest or that they've tried it and didn't find it useful. I'm not an expert or anything, and I don't even have 1,000 followers (yet! go follow me!), but I get a lot of use out of Pinterest and I want to share some of my best practices.

This is not a guide for bloggers or brands who want to use Pinterest to gain followers or spread original content. These are just some tips for beginners to help you get the most out of pinning!

Add the Pin It button // If you don't have it, get it...yesterday. The Pin It button is an extension you can put in your browser so that you can pin images from anywhere you are, whether it's a blog, online retailer, magazine's website, etc. As a word of caution, if you can find the original source of an image or article that you're going to pin, pin it from there! Not only does this give credit to the content creator, but it helps people find more info on the product, recipe, craft, etc. (More on this later in the post!) Also, be sure to pin from the individual post or product page, rather than the homepage, to make sure the pin links back to the right place.

Organize your boards now...and later! // One of the best things about Pinterest is that you can curate your content however you want. I recommend starting by making broad boards for the things you're interested in (e.g. style, food, home decor) and then pinning whatever you find to them without having to think too much about it. Once you get enough pins on a board, you might consider breaking your boards into more narrow categories (e.g. fall outfits, breakfast foods, bedroom decor). For an aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-use profile, consider consistency when naming your boards, as well as the cover photos you choose for each one.

Be specific in your search terms // There are essentially three different ways to find content on Pinterest: the people you follow, categories, and the search function. Categories are good when you're browsing generally within your various interests (e.g. DIY & Crafts, Quotes, Weddings). The search function is great for pulling up really specific results to help you find exactly what you're looking for. I personally use it a lot when I'm wondering how to style a particular item in my closet, or if I'm making a drink recipe and have certain ingredients available to me. If you can think of it, it probably exists on Pinterest. Some of my favorite recent searches are Arrested Development embroidery, baseball tee outfits, and boozy popsicles.

Follow the people who you follow follow // This is one of my favorite Pinterest tips! When you first get a Pinterest account, you're prompted to follow your Facebook and Twitter friends. You might also follow some bloggers or celebrities, but it can be a challenge to get really good content on your main Pinterest feed if you're not following avid, quality pinners. My favorite way to find new people to follow is to go to the profile for pinners I like, and then click on the profiles to the right of their bio under the heading "Pins From." These are people who your favorite pinner has pinned from recently, which means the content you liked might have come from them, and they probably have more content you'd enjoy. Some of my favorite pinners are Tori Simpson, Elizabeth,, Mrs. Lilien, and Kate @ Wit + Delight.

Peruse before pinning // When the pin is a recipe or another set of instructions, it's usually a good idea to click through the image to the source to see if it's actually something you want to pin. It takes a few extra minutes, but it can save you time later and help to not repin poor content. If it's a pin for, say, cinnamon roll cake, be sure to click through to see that the whole recipe is there and that you can follow it. Don't forget to check the comments section, both on the original post and on the pin, to see what other people who tried it have to say. This can be a quick way to find out if you should steer clear of a recipe for homemade lip balm or enchilada casserole.
Reverse image search // One of the complaints I hear the most often about Pinterest is that users can't find the products attached to the pins because the image wasn't pinned from its original source. My solution isn't foolproof, but it works more often than not. Right click the pin and choose Copy Image URL, you can go to Google Images, click the little graphic of a camera in the search bar to search by image, and paste the URL in the box. Google will pull similar images, hopefully including the product you're looking for from the original source! If you're a really good person, you'll even go into your pin and edit the link to reflect the original source so that other people can find it too.

So there it is! Those are my best Pinterest tips. Want to know more? Feel free to ask in the comments. Leave your best practices below too! Oh, and let me know who your favorite pinners are--I'm always looking for new people to follow!

pinners' guide

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