As you're reading this, I'm headed to Nashville for New Year's weekend! After a year of taking literally zero vacations, I am unbelievably excited to get out of town, explore a new place with my guy, and see some of our favorite people in person. Also, you know, eat our weight in all the great food Nashville has to offer. In case you don't have a vacation of your own this weekend, here are some links to help you mentally escape.

Chelsea shared her 27 before 27 list for her birthday the other day and I can't wait to see her kick butt and cross off goals

Speaking of lists, if you liked my anti-bucket list, check out Rachel's 50 2016 highlights, Mia's thoughts on 2016, Valery's 2016 reflection

Thank goodness for Katrina's TSA-approved makeup bag tutorial

Loved this celebrity photo project showcasing their public + private perceptions

Julie's out here convincing me to try boho-style maxi dresses

A perfectly festive outfit for a low-key NYE from Priya. Check out her fav outfits of 2016 too!

Something I look forward to every year: Tom & Lorenzo's best and worst red carpet looks of the year! Best One, TwoThree, Four // Worst One, TwoThree, Four

Is one of your style goals to get out of your comfort zone? Valery's tips are A++

15 ways to get ready for 2017

Caroline always has thoughtful reflections on her closet + style, and this 2016 recap is no exception

A little wishlist: this playful sweatshirt, these shiny flats, this fancy beret, this girly trench coat, this easy collared shirt, and a sweet sweater skirt.

P.S. Do you watch the Bachelor? Our podcast has a fantasy league for this season and you should join!

link love

austin style blogger | favorite outfits 2016
/AKA my favorite walls of 2016

Goodness, I think narrowing down my favorite outfits of 2016 has been harder than any year before! I had more fun with my style this year, really figuring out what I liked and trying fun combinations. I certainly didn't shy away from color, and I tried to balance trends with unexpected styling choices. 

Looking back on the outfits I blogged, there are a few things I notice when considering my favorites: where did I wear the outfit and did I have a blast there? Do I feel pretty in the photos/did it photograph well? Did I wear the outfit more than once? Did I do something particularly interesting?With all of that in mind, here are my 12 favorite outfits of 2017 (in order of appearance on the blog).








Because I think it's interesting, I looked into my analytics to see which outfits actually performed the best. This outfit, which is rather boring but was something I wore at least once a week for probably six months, is the highest-viewed from the year. I guess that shouldn't surprise me, especially being that most people are looking for ways to make fashion easy when looking to blogs for inspiration. Hopefully some people who pinned that one stuck around to get inspired by my more interesting looks!

My second highest-viewed outfit is this one, which I think had more to do with the subject matter -- body positivity and spanx -- than the actual outfit. I did actually wear this one a ton as well, so maybe it falls into the easily recreated category too. Numbers three and four were both on my own list, which is validating at least! My fifth most popular outfit almost made my list, so I totally understand why it's a well-loved one.

As far as style goals in 2017, I want to play around with accessories more, pull the trigger on those pieces I've always wanted (like the chambray dress I'm waiting to arrive), and put more thought into fit. Most of all, I want to support more indie businesses than ever before and keep growing my vintage collection. I get so much joy from wearing items where my purchase supported an awesome shop owner, and I love sharing those shops with you here.

Which are your favorites? Do you have any style goals for 2017?

remembering 2016 | favorite outfits

writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater12
Time for the last budgeting bloggers update of 2016! I didn't necessarily go into this month intending not to shop, but once I really got into gift shopping for my loved ones, I realized that I couldn't do both. I way overspent any gifting budget I would have set, but I was so happy to shower my people in thoughtful, locally-purchased gifts this year. Loving on my friends and supporting small businesses? It was almost like buying a ton of stuff for myself with how happy I've been! That said, this month's budget update is pretty tame.

What I Bought:

Grey Plaid Coat from Beehive Boutique - $65 (originally $82) (worn here)
Packed Party The Everything Pouch - $18 (originally $22) (worn here)

Total Spent: $83

Total Earned on Poshmark: $23

Budget Spent: $60 (out of monthly $250)

If you've followed this blog for a while, then you might know that I buy myself a new coat every year. I usually put quite a bit of thought into it, which I hadn't done yet this season. Then I was at an event celebrating my girl Daisy Natives at local boutique Beehive when I saw it. The perfect grey and white plaid coat, just hanging on a rack, waiting for me to try it on. I put it on no fewer than five times, and ended up just wearing it around the store making sure it was the one. I must have made a great choice because I've worn it every day that it's been cold enough since!

At the same event, Packed Party released The Everything Pouch, which I obviously had to bring home with me. This event was at the very beginning of December, and I didn't do any other shopping for myself for the rest of the month! I'm hoping to do a shopping freeze in January, so I'm crossing my fingers that not shopping much in December doesn't make me too grabby to do it. Upon writing this post, I've just ordered but not yet received this chambray dress from ASOS. It'll hopefully arrive just in time for Nashville, so if it works out I'll post about it in January!

What I Received:

One of my closet goals this year was to finally have a pair of boots and a purse with matching leather. This is one of those things Fran is excellent at, but that I somehow never could get right. When shopping from two different brands, matching leathers -- especially in a cognac shade -- is actually rather difficult. There are so many shades of cognac, y'all! But I finally nailed it thanks to Shopbop.

First I decided on the Sam Edelman Penny boots. I desperately needed to replace my Chinese Laundry over-the-knee boots (last seen here), and knew I wanted a classic riding pair this time around. Once I decided on the Pennys, I searched for brown leather purses and pulled up every tab I was interested in, comparing the color of each to the boots in another tab. The Frye Claude Saddle Bag has a similarly classic look to the Pennys, while being a great bag for every season. It was the right size, has gold hardware, and will last me probably the rest of my life. I got really lucky that the two match as well in person as online, because product image colors can be a different as browns leathers.

I'm super excited that I got both before our Nashville trip -- both are perfect for traveling and for days exploring a new city!

what i bought december

Frye Claude Saddle Bag c/o Shopbop
Sam Edelman Penny Boots c/o Shopbop

Being that this is the last budget update of the year, I figured it would be a good time to review my purchases and reflect on my 2016 budget. For some background, last year, I was writing budget updates without keeping an actual budget just to see about what I spent. I only tracked for seven months in 2015, but estimated based on those months that I probably spent about $2,800 on clothes last year. My initial goal was to spend around $2,000 in 2016, which I set out to do with a quarterly budget of $500.

At the end of August, I decided to adjust my budget and switch to a $250 monthly budget. This was SUCH a good choice for me. The quarterly budget didn't work because I wasn't actually budgeting, I was just spending with hopes that I wouldn't want to spend the next month, which was absolutely silly. $250 a month is a generous budget, though one that I can actually afford if I were to spend it every month. Because there's some padding in there, I don't feel the need to spend my entire budget each month. I buy what I really want without giving myself this unattainable goal that ultimately was causing me to overspend and then feel sad. Being sad only makes me shop more in an attempt to be happy again, so it was an endless cycle of overspending.

So, how much did I spend in 2016?

Yearly Total Spent: $2,273.04

Considering my goal was to spend $2000 and I didn't really have any budgeting experience, I am stoked at how close I came! It's very clear to me what my worst/most impulsive purchases of the year are, and had I not made them, I would actually be just about at $2000. (The two main culprits were the J.Crew midi dress I bought in June and proceeded to sell on Poshmark for like half what I spent on it and the Ann Taylor yellow floral lace skirt that I bought in March. Both were impulse purchases that didn't fit my lifestyle and that put me over my budget in their respective months.) 

Deciding on my favorite purchases of the year is just too hard. I shopped so much smarter in 2016 and nearly everything I bought has been well-loved and worn often. Stay tuned for my favorite outfits of 2016 post where you'll most definitely be able to tell which buys were the best this year!

As always, I'm linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers. If you've thought about tracking your shopping and spending, now is such a great time to get involved with this awesome link-up and group of women. Set a monthly, quarterly, or yearly budget for 2017 and join us in January!

what i bought in december

austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater3 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater9 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater6 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater7 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater14 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater12 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater2 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater5 austin style blogger grey coat mustard sweater1
coat: Beehive (similar, similar in plus size) // sweater: H&M (yellow sold out online, similar) // jeans: Gap (similar in plus size) // booties: Old Navy // bag: Old Navy (similar) // rings: Nina Berenato JewelryMoulton // necklace: DIY

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend (or just a relaxing one if the holidays aren't your thing)! We went to Houston to hang with Dago's family and kept it all very low-key (except for an unexpected carousel ride at the mall -- so fun!). Today we're headed to my parents' house just north of Austin for jelly donuts to celebrate Chanukah in pure fried-food fashion.

The outfit I'm wearing in these photos is actually what I wore for Thanksgiving! Of course, it happened to be in the 80s that day, so I didn't wear the coat or hat, and had my sleeves rolled up all day. Then, the day that we shot these photos, it was darn cold, but I was glad to finally wear my new favorite coat out. I don't know what the weather has been like where you are, but it's been fluctuating nearly fifty degrees every few days. I would be complaining more if I ever left the house and had to get dressed, but I'll be honest and say that I've been mostly wearing my favorite Zella leggings and an assortment of sweatshirts regardless of temperature.

I think I mentioned here recently that I wanted to give grey a try this season, starting with my cat purse and then my Old Navy pointed-Chelsea boots. Stumbling upon this coat seemed like fate, and I'm so glad it came home with me. I'm equally pleased at how well it pairs with cognac! I talk more about how this coat came to be in tomorrow's budget update, so stay tuned for that!

How are you handling the weather in your neck of the woods?

a wintry mix

2016 anti bucket list
photo by Chelsea Laine Francis

I can't believe it's already time for me to write this post! Last year's anti-bucket list surprised me by being one of my favorite ways to look back on the year. As someone who's constantly setting goals, I love that this is an opportunity to see what I accomplished with and without explicitly setting out to do so. 2016 had some extreme lows, both personally and for the world, but putting this list together has helped me see the light and love as well.

In 2016, I...

♥ Completed 49 out of 60 monthly small goals (compared to last year's 42!)

♥ Published 171 blog posts (and counting! Got 2-3 more next week coming at ya!) and recorded 46 podcast episodes

♥ Had an extremely successful year professionally and started working from home

♥ Did a fun springtime sweethearts shoot with Dago, photographed by Chelsea of course

♥ Took care of my sweet man for 5+ months while he couldn't walk due to a ruptured Achilles' tendon

♥ Emceed Thrive Blogger Conference

♥ Was the Maid of Honor in my bestie's wedding

♥ Showed four different visiting friends around Austin

♥ Took my mom antiquing in both Fredricksburg for Mother's Day and Round Top for her birthday

♥ Went to the farmer's market

♥ Took creative workshops like brush lettering, floral painting, and vision board making

♥ Watercolor-painted (and mailed!) so many Valentine's cards

♥ Re-did our guest bathroom

♥ Got highlights for the first time, later bleached all my hair, and got new glasses

♥ Danced my butt off at Kacey Musgraves, Carly Rae Jepsen, Adele, Into It. Over It., and The World Is A Beautiful Place and I'm No Longer Afraid to Die

♥ Watched 15 movies in theatres, so many Netflix documentaries, and way way way too many TV shows

♥ Listened to Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper approximately two thousand times

♥ Reached 5k followers on Instagram

♥ Was published in The Heart Mag with a piece about loving your body in the summertime

♥ Bought a really beautiful couch (and said goodbye to my beloved old one)

♥ Worked with some incredible brands, both big and small

♥ Hosted a shopping night at ModCloth, and then later spoke on a panel there about size inclusion in the fashion industry

♥ Helped style a photo shoot for Pieceology Vintage

 Voted in both local and national elections

♥ Donated to causes that are important to my heart

♥ Learned my Why and how to Own It

♥ Consumed so many brunches, tacos, and margaritas

♥ Deepened my friendships + began kindling the flame of new ones

♥ Felt more confident than ever before about who I am and what I'm meant to do

What. A. Year. I feel so ready to take on the next one, especially after writing all of this down. If you've never done an anti-bucket list, I highly encourage it. You may not think you accomplished much this year, but I think you'll be surprised, too, by how much you have to celebrate.

P.S. Stay tuned for a word of the year link-up on January 2 and the first monthly small goals link-up of 2017 on January 9! I would LOVE to have you join in the fun with your own goals!

remembering 2016 | anti-bucket list

austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater7 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater2 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater12 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater13 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater15 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater10 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater8 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater4 austin fashion blog necktie blouse green sweater14
sweater: H&M (green sold out online, similar) // shirt: Forever 21 (similar, similar in plus size) // jeans: Gap (similar in plus size) // shoes: Loft (similar) // purse: STRUT (similar) // earrings: Gudbling // rings: Nina Berenato Jewelry, Moulton

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I told you I wasn't ready to give up on blush, didn't I? Can you believe I used to be afraid to wear this color? If I were to wear an all blush outfit, or even a blush top, I look pretty washed out. But just because I can't wear it near my face doesn't mean I can't wear it at all (and, really, I make the rules around here, so I wear what I want! See: blush blazer). Finally embracing blush has been one of my favorite closet additions in the last couple of years. Who knew dressing fearlessly just meant accepting pastels into my life?

One thing I've never been afraid of wearing, on the other hand, is bows. Since entering the second half of my twenties, however, I've worried if I'd have to give them up. Luckily, this more "mature" option has entered my closet so I don't have to! You can expect to see this necktie blouse about a bajillion more times (ahem...see it worn another way here).

I'm working on rounding up my favorite outfits of the year for an upcoming post and I already know this one will be on it. I've already worn it twice and loved it, and I love how it looks in these photos. Because it doesn't hurt to ask (and I'm having trouble narrowing them down!), what are your favorite outfits I blogged this year?

bows and blush

austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket1 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket7 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket10 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket5 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket2 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket3 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket4 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket6 austin style blogger blush midi skirt moto jacket12
jacket: BB Dakota c/o Shopbop (similar in plus size) // turtleneck: J.Crew (similar in plus size) // skirt: Ann Taylor (similar, similar in plus size) // booties: Old Navy // purse: vintage Coach via Pieceology Vintage // rings: Nina Berenato JewelryMoulton // glasses: c/o Warby Parker

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I guess it's about time I address the elephant on my face, isn't it? I got new glasses! They are absolutely not the pair I expected to fall in love with (was thinking something more like this), but after I discovered them I just couldn't stop thinking about them. This pair is a part of a Warby Parker collaboration with Leith Clark, Editor-in-Chief of The Violet Book. The whole collection is ├╝ber-femme with unique vintage details. This particular pair is named Zelda, which I like to think is a tribute to Zelda Fitzgerald, one of my favorite women in history.

I hadn't noticed until getting these photos back, but this outfit is pretty reminiscent of my new specs. While the actual color name of these glasses is Crystal Taupe, I can't help but feel like they're the slightest bit blush. I know rose quartz was one of 2016's colors of the year, but I'm not ready to give it up in 2017! (Plus, let's just say I'm not exactly thrilled with Pantone's new choice.) Give me all the blush, all the time.

Speaking of blush, this Ann Taylor midi skirt has made quite a few appearances on the blog this year! You can see how I wore it for spring here and summer here (the latter of which is basically the same outfit you see here). I actually had fourth outfit planned with it, but the day we photographed it was too windy, and by the time our next shoot rolled around, it wasn't quite seasonally appropriate. Thinking I may be able to rework it with tights though -- a skirt for every season!

Is there a color you keep coming back to? Or an article of clothing you reached for again and again this past year?

new glasses, who dis


I try to keep things pretty positive around here, especially during Friday link love posts, but life isn't always like that. My mom has been struggling with her health over the last couple of years and had an unexpected surgery a couple of weeks ago that has set my parents back significantly. You can read more about the situation here. I know there are a lot of causes reminding you it's the season of giving, but if you happen to have a little something, any donation helps reduce the burden on my family right now. Thanks for y'all's continued support. Whether or not you're able to give, just know I appreciate you.

I always look forward to Kimi's style sudoku recaps, and her fall edition did not disappoint!

Loved reading this list of what Emma learned in 2016.

A writer a really love was interviewed about her need to do different creative things (and I related hard).

Some very real truths about a beloved holiday movie I actually don't love that much.

And a very important bromance is confirmed by two very important ladies.

Katie's got some great tips for rocking a black turtleneck. Which outfit is your favorite?

Found this one via Fran's Top Three post -- a gift guide for people who hated 2016.

Loved this post from Liz about style values. Good things to consider for the new year!

Which case is your fav? I think I need a new one!

A little wishlist: a super soft sweater, a wallet you'll want to show off, a uniquely gorgeous pair of earrings, a totally festive turtleneck, a fun take on your holiday LBD, and a pair of slippers you'll never want to take off.

link love

holiday outfit ideas

It's nearing the time of year when I get the most outfit help-related questions from friends, so I thought I'd put a little post together to see if I can help a lot of you at once (not that I ever mind shopping questions -- bring 'em on!). It's just that around the holidays, we tend to have similar events and circumstances we're dressing for, and the options either seem few or limitless, depending on your level of shopping expertise.

For Spending the Holiday With Your Significant Other's Family

This occasion calls for a seriously versatile outfit that meets several criteria: be modest enough to not potentially offend, find the casual balance between overdressed and frumpy, be comfortable and ready for unexpected family activities like running around with the family dogs/nephews. Plus, you don't know how cold or hot their family will keep the temperature, so having layers is key. 

I love the idea of a long cardigan, so you feel plenty covered, in a fun texture or print. For the top, choose a blouse that is a step up from tee shirt -- some nice detailing and an elevated silhouette goes a long way. I like this embroidered peplum because it's sure to hide any food baby that may arise. Pull on your favorite pair of stretchy jeans or jeggings and you're good to go!

For shoes, I recommend a pair of flat boots (just in case you end up in a major game of family hide and seek), like this cute Chelsea pair. An awesome tip I learned from Fran recently: either wear shoes that you'll wear socks with or bring an extra pair if you wear flats. Some families leave their shoes at the door, and being barefoot all day can be a little uncomfortable (and possibly chilly!).

holiday at significant others family

For Cozy Christmas Brunch

Is Christmas brunch a thing? As a lifelong Chanukah celebrator, I'm still a little new to Christmas traditions and how the festivities go down. In case it is, or in case your family does a similarly cozy event on the big day, this outfit is for you. At some point, I must assume you change out of your Christmas jammies, and this outfit seems like the perfect replacement: festive, cozy, with just a touch of holiday sparkle.

If you're staying home for the day, there's really no reason to put real pants on, which means ponte pants or equally thick leggings are a total go. Still, you may want to feel a little more covered, making this a great time to try a longline vest over your favorite flannel shirt. You're free roll up your sleeves to make pancakes, but look more together than your usual weekend-at-home uniform of an oversized shirt and leggings. Punctuate the outfit with glittery flats and a pair of sparkly studs. If you can't tell, I pretty much think a little shimmer is required for the holidays.

christmas brunch

For Chrismakkah Dinner with Friends

While the other two outfits here are focused on comfort and family appropriateness, this outfit is all about personal style and getting dressed up with your friends for a fun occasion. Bring on the trends: velvet, choker necklaces, sparkly shoes, and even sparklier tights are all perfect choices for your Friendsmas or Festival of Lights among friends! Pour yourself a glass of Prossecco and toast to your killer holiday ensemble.

If I'm being honest here, I might need to throw a Chrismakkah dinner just so I can rock this outfit. What do you think?
friendmas outfit
What do your holiday plans look like this year? Do you have an outfit picked out yet? I'm excited to know what you'll wear to celebrate!

what to wear for your holiday festivities

writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater1 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater2 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater4 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater12 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater3 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater5 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater10 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater7 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater9 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater13 writes like a girl pink coat rainbow gap sweater11
coat: old Old Navy (similar, similar in plus size) // sweater: Gap // jeans: Gap (similar in plus size) // shoes: Loft (similar) // necklace: J.Crew (similar) // purse: Packed Party // pin: c/o Color Theory // rings: Nina Berenato JewelryMoulton

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

While yesterday's holiday party outfit skewed more fancy, today's is all about color! There's still a dressed up aspect to this casual outfit with the hint of shimmer in the sweater's stripes, the sparkly baubles, and the block heels. I'm a big fan of playing with levels, so I like to call this cozy glam. Traveling to a handful of holiday parties and want to look festive while feeling comfortable? This outfit is for you!

Because I know you're wondering, let's talk about this clutch for a sec. The sequins are inside a layer of plastic, so it's not just like a bag of sequins. Putting my hand in it is just as fun as carrying my things in it. Way too entertaining, and pretty darn festive looking if I do say do!

How do you prefer to dress for the holidays -- colorful, glam, witchy, or cozy?

merry and rainbow bright

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