What a week. The Internet is both a place I escape to and a place I have to escape from during weeks like this. Here are some things I read that go me through.

A must-read regarding last weekend's events in Charlottesville.

You may have seen me link to this already this week, but Alissa and I literally both posted about the same topic on Monday and her take on body representation is a hot one.

Two gingham dresses that give me major heart eyes: one and two.

5 actually useful tips for growing your Instagram following from one of my favs.

Speaking of Instagram, Katrina is out here debunking those "authentic verified followers" cards you may have seen.

Certifiably obsessed with the color palette of these new arrivals from Clare V.

Two great reads this week from Allure: an interview with Helen Mirren and the phrasing you won't see in their magazine from now on.

I look at wedding photography literally all day for work, and yet it took me a second to notice that something these photos! (That drone shot though!)

Powerful insight from an Asian-American doctor on how she deals with white nationalists in the ER.

I may not be a Game of Thrones fan, but I can totally get behind this.

There are some seriously pretty ruffles going on over at WAYF lately!

Valery got bangs!!! (And a fun partnership with Sephora - you go girl!)

I never would have known not to do this one thing in the event of a nuclear blast. Interesting...and terrifying.

A little wishlist: this millennial pink wrap skirt, this off-the-shoulder jumpsuit, this ready-for-fall gingham shirt, these classic gold earrings with a little edge, and my favorite tie-waist shorts - now with bees!

link love

austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt11 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt1 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt6 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt15 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt9 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt7 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt4 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt16 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt5 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt3 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl madewell yellow midi skirt14
top: Charlotte Russe (similar) // skirt: Madewell // shoes: ModCloth // purse: Forever 21 (similar) // earrings: c/o Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Francis

While I don't believe in universal closet staples, I am really glad to have a sleeveless white button down in my closet again. I had one a couple of years back that stopped fitting the second I had a professional bra fitting. I've looked and looked, and even thrifted an extremely wrinkle-prone replacement from a pricey designer, but I just never found a shirt that met my closet and lifestyle needs. Then a couple of months ago, I was working on a curated shopping list for a friend when I stumbled upon this shirt on the Charlotte Russe site. I haven't personally shopped at the ole CR in years, but their prices and styles were a great fit for my friend, so I spent an afternoon scrolling through pretty much everything on their site. As soon as I spotted this top, I added two to my cart, one in a medium and one in a large, and hit order. (For reference, I ended up keeping the large!)

I'm SO bummed that this shirt is now sold out because I was going to encourage you all to buy it. I wear it at least twice a week and honestly already wish I'd bought a second one because I know this one is going to wear out soon. I love tucking it into cutoff shorts (outfit coming soon to the blog) and it goes with absolutely all of my skirts. Plus, the collar makes it way cute to wear under a dress! A white sleeveless blouse may not be a must-have for everyone, but I hope I never have to live without one again.

Now if only I could find the perfect black fit and flare dress that I've been searching to replace this one with since 2014.

a good shirt is hard to find

austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes9 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes10 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes17 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes14 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes13 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes12 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes8 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes4 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes3 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes16 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes2 austin fashion blog writes like a girl modcloth chambray culottes1 culottes: ModCloth (wearing a Large, on sale!) // top: ModCloth (wearing a Medium) // shoes: ModCloth (fit TTS) // bag: Frye c/o Shopbop // necklace: Shashi c/o Shopbop (on sale!)

photos by Chelsea Francis

Another day, another pair of culottes. If 2017 will be known in my memory for one thing, it'll be the year I branched out beyond skinny jeans and gave other pants a try. And thank goodness I did!

Culottes are a style I would have never attempted because I didn't think someone who looked like me could wear them. I've been thinking about this a lot lately - the feeling that I shouldn't wear something because it won't look like it does on the size 0-2 model. While it's awesome for fellow size 0-2 women to see a garment on someone who looks like them, there are many, many more of us buying clothing with no real reference for how the clothing will fit. Oddly enough, I'm now at a size where the models on plus size sites wear the same size I do, which is mostly unhelpful for women shopping from those retailers.

It wasn't until I sought out more "mid-sized" (is that the term we're going with?) bloggers that I started getting more creative with my closet. Sure, I'd rock a colorful cat print dress, but only if it had a fit and flare silhouette because I knew I could count on the fit. Seeing other women who don't fall into the typical model-size category wearing interesting clothes gave me the push I needed to try some new things.

I recently saw a Topshop jumpsuit on a blogger who looked about my size and I immediately clicked through to add it to my cart. The model on the site did absolutely nothing to sell me this garment - in fact, I scrolled right past it when doing my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale shopping because I assumed it wasn't for me. Funny how not showing the garment on a body like mine almost lost them a sale.

On one hand, this is what I love about blogging: you don't have to fit a certain mold or have a certain body type to show off your personal style. Anyone can participate and you don't have to wait for permission. Thanks to bloggers, I'm able to find other women like me - women who have bodies like me or who dress like me, women who like what I like or introduce me to something new.

On the other hand, retailers and the fashion industry need to do better. I've had two experiences recently when working on collaborations with brands and felt totally stumped on what pieces to choose because their sites did nothing to sell the clothes to me. Sure, they both had hundreds of cute things in stock and both happen to be brands I like and have shopped from before, but online shopping with them feels more like blind shopping. Take out the guess work and I guarantee you more sales. (Oh, and how about offering a wider range of sizes too, while we're at it! Don't blame millennials for killing your company if you don't even offer above a size 14.)

Have you had a similar experience shopping online? For my "mid-sized" babes - tell me your favorite bloggers because I'm always looking for more to add to my feed!

P.S. Alissa wrote about this exact topic today too! Go read her blog post about finding your style when you're not represented.

not-so-skinny jeans


Happy Friday! This was a weird week, but luckily we have the Internet to get us through, amirite?

Kesha's new album is out today and she also gifted us with this essay about how Rainbow came to be.

Basically all my feelings about that Bachelorette finale.

OMG Elsie and Emma had their mom write a blog post about how she fostered creativity in them as kids - SO sweet!

Alissa talks about what an asset a statement dress is at the office. (Oh yeah, and she shows off a certain asset, if ya know what I mean!)

Bad days happen to the best of us (oh, lordy, do they!). I needed + appreciated Grace's openness about her recent bad day and the steps she took to remedy it (they may not be what you expect!).

Fall is the perfect time to switch out your crossbody for this year's hottest bag trend: backpacks!

Speaking of trends, I've planned so many cute fall outfits around baseball caps - velvet and denim and wool, oh my! Get your styling inspiration from Priya!

Oh, you know, just Chelsea living my dream at these colorful walls.

Every woman deserves an outfit that makes them feel as comfortable and beautiful as Tieka is in this one!

This body posi beach trip is a dream (and what each woman had to say to their body-shamers is incredibly important).

Is there such a thing as a magpie who's drawn to vibrant things instead of sparkly ones? That's how I feel about these colorful baubles!

Valery's got five tips for transitioning your favorite summer outfits to fall.

A wishlist for the weekend: this blush blouse in a surprising print, possibly the cutest tiered dress I've ever seen, a veggie-print skirt, this precious wristlet, and this rainbow button cardigan.

link love

austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress1 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress3 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress13 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress12 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress11 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress10 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress2 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress8 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress4 austin style blogger writes like a girl flamingo dress7
dress: Cousin Earl via ROAM Port Aransas // shoes: Moorea Seal (similar) // pouch: REALM // earrings: Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Francis

I can't believe it's taken me this long to get this dress up on the blog! July totally got away from me, and my photographer took a well-deserved vacay for a good part of the month, but better late than never, right?

In case you missed it, this dress was my souvenir from my Port Aransas trip earlier this summer. As Dago has learned over the years, my favorite gifts are the kind I can wear, and the same is true for souvenirs. I like to wear my love & experiences! Every time I see this dress in my closet, I get a little flashback to my vacation - the quality time I spent with Dago, all the pretty colors of the Coastal town, the ease of beach life. Sure, I may be putting on sweat pants to go work at my desk at home, but I get a little dose of inspiration and ocean air just seeing the flamingos hanging out.

I'm actually so glad that I was having such a body positive experience while on vacation because this dress isn't something I would have picked up in my "real life." Never have I thought I could wear, or be comfortable in, a dress that didn't have a defined waist. I know I wear a lot of smock dresses (literally my favorite), but they always have a waistline. Something about the totally #onbrand flamingos and you-can-do-anything-you-want vibe of vacation gave me the push I needed to grab the dress and run to the dressing room before Dago could say "We're going to miss our brunch call!" The rest is history. I didn't even change back into the outfit I was wearing and became officially the happiest person on the whole dang island.

What kind of souvenirs do you collect? If you could find a dress entirely printed in one thing that would make you buy it in an instant, what would it be?

let's flamingle

austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt9 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt8 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt2 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt6 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt4 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt10 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt1 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt12 austin style blogger writes like a girl madewell denim skirt7
top: c/o Madewell // skirt: c/o Madewell // sandals: Old Navy (super similar) // backpack: c/o ESPEROS // necklace: Shashi c/o Shopbop

photos by Chelsea Francis

I was standing in the Madewell dressing room the other day, wearing this skirt, but not sure if I was really wearing it or if it was wearing me. Usually I love to shop alone, but I suddenly, desperately, needed the opinion of someone else. I snapped a photo that refused to send via dressing room wifi, so I crept out from behind the curtain to ask the shop girl's opinion. "Suh cuuute!" Whew. Even if she was just trying to make the sale, it was exactly the validation I needed.

But why did I need that validation? I knew I liked the denim skirt on me. The truth is that I felt like I wasn't cool enough to wear it and that I needed someone to give me permission to add it to my closet.

And you know what? That's wack.

Stop waiting for permission to wear something you like. To start a blog. To speak up. To change careers. To learn a new skill. To write that book. To try a new hobby. To ask for what you want.

Start the podcast.
Send the email.
Audition for the part.
Tell them how you feel.
Apply for the job.
Take the bike out of the garage.
Dye your hair.
Ask for help.
Show up.
Buy the skirt.

stop waiting for permission


Happy Friday! This week felt like it went on and on and on, so I'm extra grateful for the weekend ahead. Luckily, there was plenty of great Internet to look at during these long days! Check out some of my favorite things I saw in 3...2...1!

You've most definitely already watched this video, but omg it's so cute and the song is a bop.

Your Friday laugh: things millennial grandparents will say

BB Dakota kills it with their outerwear every year, and this season is no exception! How great is that ombré blanket coat?

Ruts happen to the best of us, but Jess has some great tips for getting out of them!

Aziz Ansari on loneliness, social media, and the pressure to stay inspired. (Seriously, this interview is SO good - the interviewer did an awesome job!)

Are you heading to Nashville this year? Bookmark Taylor's Nashville vintage shopping guide for your trip! (I wish I'd had this!)

My girl Jen is back at the blog sharing about her journey to quit sugar.

Loved reading this interview with the Man Repeller herself on blogging and the oft-debated term "influencer."

Sundress season isn't over and Moon River has so many cute options if you're looking for one to rock the rest of summer!

And while your at it, these delicate necklaces pair so pretty with a summer dress.

I consider myself a pop music connoisseur, so of course I loved this interview with the guys behind the Switched on Pop podcast about my queen Carly Rae Jepsen (among others).

These animals are sisters from other misters and brothers from different mothers and omg it's too much cute in one place.

A little wishlist for my working girls: this two-tone scalloped blouse (so cute with a blazer!), this bold midi skirt, this chambray dress I'd wear weekly, this embroidered peplum top, and this adorable navy daisy skirt.

link love

august small goals

It may not technically be August yet, but I've got a running start on my small goals for the new month! July was a pretty good month, both as far as goals are concerned and considering all the fun I got up to beyond what I set out to do. I tried Soul Cycle for the first time (also my first time in an exercise class!), took a quick trip to Waco with friends, did a reading from Feel Good, Dress Better at ModCloth for their 15th birthday weekend, and so much more! Despite being super busy, I managed to make time for (most of) my July small goals - here's how I did!

1. meet my sales goal for Feel Good, Dress Better | It's complicated, but ultimately yes! Basically, I started off the month with what I learned was an absurd sales goal (less optimistic, more unrealistic), but after more research, talking to smart friends, and working on goal #3, I adjusted my goal and exceeded it! Remember - it's never too late to adjust your goals!
2. meet my sales goal on Poshmark | Not quite, but I did pretty well just by focusing more attention on selling! 
3. work on a marketing plan for FGDB | Done! Though, only after about a week and a half of existential meltdown over all things marketing + workbook. Excited to move forward with some new perspective!
4. spend time at the pool | Done! Not as much as I'd have liked, looking back, but is there ever enough pool time?
5. institute no-spend days | Fail. I did end up having a handful of no-spend days in July, but they were totally by accident and I didn't even realize until that night or the next day. If I attempt this again, I'm going to plan the days ahead of time!

3/5 isn't bad, especially considering everything else I did in July! Here's what I'm hoping to get up to in August:

1. expand my audience for Feel Good, Dress Better | My big takeaway from July's FGDB-related goals is that people in my community know about the workbook and where to find it at this point, so it's time to cast a wider net! It's time to put my pitching pants on!
2. go to the gym with friends | Planet Fitness just opened a new location a little closer to my house and I'm excited (as excited as one can be to go to a gym) to check it out! The monthly membership fee costs less than one Soul Cycle class, which is quite the selling point!
3. prep for Palm Springs | The flights have been booked and I'm headed to Palm Springs in early September! Though I'm going to speak at a wedding photography workshop, I'll be there for a whole week and would love to explore! Send me your recommendations - this architectural tour is at the top of my list!
4. maintain a clean apartment | I did some major deep cleaning over the weekend and felt so refreshed by a tidy home. I'd love to maintain the cleanliness for more than just a week or so!
5. make some progress in paying off my credit card debt | My credit card is honestly the source of most of my stress, so I'd love to focus my attention this month on making bigger payments and starting to really chip away at it!

Your turn! Share your small goals below + link back here so your readers can find more goal -inspiration goodness!

august | small goals


This week's most exciting news, for me anyway, was the launch of PREMME, a fashion line by Nicolette Mason and Gabi Fresh. The line will carry sizes 12-30 and every piece is perfect.

This is maybe my favorite outfit Valery has ever worn, and of course it features one of her Everyday Unicorns shirts! Speaking of which, you she's currently running a giveaway to win six tees for six months. If you love a cute feminist tee, head over and enter ASAP!

Did you watch GLOW? This interview with the youngest cast member is filled with sisterhood goodness!

Here's Olivia living my jumpsuit dreams.

Three words: Horchata Custard Pie. Ya think I can manage to make this for Thanksgiving? I pinned it, so we'll see!

These poorly drawn cats are actually v accurate?

Where are my RuPaul's Drag Race fans? If you love Valentina as much as I do, you will die over this campaign she modeled for!

A list of podcasts Chelsea loves featuring yours truly! (Thanks for the shout out, Chels!)

Julia included me in her roundup of curvy-bodied bloggers alongside a few of my own personal style icons. I was especially excited to add a few new gals to my blogroll who have similar bodies to mine!

I've been having trouble staying hydrated this summer and I'm on the hunt for a new water bottle! Do you have a favorite brand or go-to bottle?

I found this photo article about what happens to subway cars when they're old fascinating.

Jen looks AMAZING in this color palette and jumper!

I let out a genuine gasp when I saw Cathy in this outfit. SO. GOOD.

23 Disney facts you don't know - or at least I didn't!

A little wishlist for the weekend: the most perfect yellow peplum top, this very cool pink jacket, this precious mini car scarf, these cute Kate Spade earring dupes, and these playful tassel heeled sandals.

link love

July was a whirlwind! Anyone else feel that way? I was up, I was down, and, of course, I was shopping. As always, I'm linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers to share my monthly shopping budget! A couple major shopping-related themes this month: my participation in the ModCloth #StyleforAll campaign included a gift card and the Nordstrom Anniversary sale took place this month. All of this to say, many more pieces came home with me than usual. Here's what's happily joined my closet:

What I Bought

  what i bought in july

Lush Ruffle Bell Sleeve Blouse - $31.90
Old Navy Double-Strap Sandals - $19.94
Old Navy Denim Button Down Shift Dress - $29.99 (not pictured, worn here)
Old Navy Grey Boyfriend Slub-Knit Pocket Tee - $12.99 (not pictured)
Banana Republic Fray-Hem Vintage Straight Jean - $78.50 (not pictured, worn here)
ModCloth Art Show Elements Vegan Heel by BC Footwear via ModCloth - $79.99 gift card used
Collectif Upbeat Afternoon Romper via ModCloth - $49.99 gift card used
ModCloth Aglow in the Moment A-Line Dress - $79.99 gift card used
ModCloth Into the Idea Tank Top - $39.99 gift card used
Pepaloves Ceaseless Satisfaction Top via ModCloth - $44.99 gift card used
ModCloth Bookstore's Best A-Line Skirt - $39.99 gift card used
Charlotte Russe Pocket Button-Up Top - $18.99

Total Spent: $192.31
Total Earned on Poshmark: $36
Budget Spent: $156.31 (out of monthly $250) = $93.69 under budget

Instead of breaking down every item, I'm going to break down by store!

Nordstrom: I looked through of the Nordstrom anniversary sale and only found one piece of clothing I really, really wanted: this Lush ruffle sleeve blouse. I have a feeling I'm going to wear this a ton in the fall winter - with jeans, under my chambray pinafore, with skirts - so stoked! I bought it in a large, but could have almost definitely gotten a medium.

Old Navy: I went to Old Navy in person twice this month and managed to only pick up a couple of things! I'm wearing both the dress and sandals in this post, both of which have already become closet MVPs. The striped tee is the same as this one I already own, only in grey, and it's my go-to tee to wear around the house.

Banana Republic: I actually bought these jeans at the very end of June and almost forgot to include them in my round-up, which is silly because I've worn them constantly this month! You can see them styled here. I wish they were as long as me as they are on the model, but otherwise they're exactly the vintage-y straight-leg jeans I was looking for. A little distressed, not overly tight in the waist, and a great color!

ModCloth: Okay, I know it looks like I went nuts at ModCloth, and that's because I did. I planned on saving part of my gift card for fall/winter, knowing I'd have plenty on my wishlist then, and then a couple of sales happened and there were so many things I wanted, so I just went for it. All of these things will be on the blog soon, so I'll just give a quick and dirty: I've worn the lemonade dress twice already to various summer events, which is exactly what I bought it for. Click through to see the back, which is the BEST part. The floral romper is super cute, though the fit is kind of odd in that it feels like it was made for my body and my body only? The torso/crotch ratio literally just barely fits on my frame, so if your torso is any longer than mine, there's going to be trouble. I couldn't resist the happy little striped shirt and every time I wear it, I get tons of compliments. The black tank has a real cute back and is the perfect little "going out" top. Last, but not least, the mauve skirt is the same as this one I already own, but solid instead of floral!

Charlotte Russe: I was actually doing some online shopping scouting for someone else when I discovered this perfect sleeveless white button down! I ordered it in both a medium and large and ended up keeping the large. I've worn it several days in a row now (sh! Don't tell!) and it goes with everything.

While I don't count them in my shopping budget, I did want to share a few other items I bought in case you've been looking for similar things! I picked up these three Natori bras (one, two, three) from Nordstrom (before the sale, unfortunately) and this robe (I'm obsessed) and three pairs of these high-waisted undies during the sale.

What I Received

what i received july
I received a few goodies this month from brands who support this blog! Using my Shopbop credit, I picked up this Steven Alan blush crossbody bag and this delicate rose gold Shashi necklace. Whether you've followed this blog for a week or a year, then you've seen me wear my pick tassel earrings from Gudbling. This month, the Berlin-based designed gifted me a couple more pairs to add to my rotation. I chose these pastel tassels and this unique neutral pair. Get ready to see all of these pieces on the blog soon, as I'm basically obsessed with every one!

Okay! That's it for me this month. Tell me what you bought in July and be sure to check out the other budgeting bloggers!

what i bought in july

austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts2 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts5 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts10 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts8 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts12 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts7 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts1 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts22 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts17 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts21 austin fashion blogger writes like a girl bell sleeves floral shorts19
top: Madewell // shorts: thrifted (similar) // shoes: Moorea Seal (similar) // purse: STRUT (similar) // earrings: Gudbling

photos by Chelsea Francis

Can you believe I almost left these shorts at the secondhand store? They were so comfy and I felt like they were cute on, but the line was so long and customer service was so awful that I nearly just left them on a rack (along with these shorts that I'm now obsessed with!). In fact, I'd brought a giant bag of goodies and they only offered me like $17 for them, so I really wasn't inclined to spend more money there. Let me tell you - I am so glad I kept my cool, stayed in line, and brought these shorts home because they are everything I've been dreaming of!

Last summer I shared a post wearing a pair of cute soft shorts, but unfortunately they didn't really come into rotation in my closet. They were too low-waisted, not long enough, not roomy enough. Honestly, if H&M had them in one size up, they probably would have been a dream! This summer, I hoped to find another pair that actually fit the bill. While these are structured in look and fit, I wanted an alternative pair that softer, looser, and a little more casual. 

I love that this thrifted pair can be dressed up or down! I've traveled in them, paired with a navy tank top and sandals, and I've also been out to dinner in them styled like this. They work especially well as a swimsuit cover-up too!

Have you lucked out during any recent thrift store trips? I always love y'all's styling ideas - how would you wear these shorts?

bell sleeves and bow ties

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