easy valentines wreath diy1

As promised, I've got a little Valentine's Day DIY for you! I do not consider myself particularly crafty, but I like being able to do a little something with my hands to hang in my home. When I was thinking of Valentine's-related content, I remembered how much I enjoyed putting together the easy minimalist fall wreath DIY I did in 2015 and thought maybe I could make simple wreaths "my thing." If you don't consider yourself crafty either, take heart in knowing that this took me about 30 minutes and was pretty much impossible to screw up!

easy valentines wreath diy2

What You Need:

- 10in embroidery hoop (preferably made of wood, rather than plastic)
- String (yarn, twine, or embroidery floss will do! I used baker's twine) in light pink, bright pink, and red
- Scissors
- Hot glue gun and 1 glue stick
- Gold X and O stickers (found at Michaels, similar)
- A pen
- X-Acto knife (optional)

Before you start, go ahead and plug in your hot glue gun on a heat-safe surface.

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Step One

Start with your lightest color of string. Tie a knot at the 8 o'clock point on your embroidery hoop. Begin wrapping the string around your embroidery hoop, keeping the wraps as close together as possible. To hide the lose piece of string from your knot, cover it with string as you begin wrapping. Stop wrapping at the top of your embroidery hoop. Cut your string with at least two inches to spare so that you can tie a knot at your finished point. Leave the remaining string hanging out -- we'll deal with it in a later step.

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Step Two

Next you will need your second lightest color, in this case being bright pink. On the right side of the metal closure of your embroidery hoop, tie a knot. Repeat step one until you have reached the 4 o'clock point on your embroidery hoop.

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Step Three

With your final color of string, repeat step one for the last time. Tuck the spare string from the previous color's knot beneath your wraps. When you complete this section, leave the spare string from the knot hanging out.

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Step Four

Without removing the back layer, cut out your X and O stickers. (If you remove the non-sticky back layer, you will have a much more difficult time with the rest of the DIY.) If you aren't able to cut close enough to the letters with scissors, you may want to use an X-Acto knife to trim as close as possible.

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Step Five

With the back layers still intact, place your X and O stickers along the edge of your wreath, positioning them until you are happy with the look. Using your pin, mark the backside of the stickers the points where the letters directly touch the wreath.

On a heat-safe surface, flip your letters so the back is facing up. Carefully add hot glue dots where you have made pen marks on the letters. Do not touch the metal tip of the glue gun to the sticker, which may cause it to melt.

Your hot glue will dry relatively fast, so you will need to do this next part quickly. Gently position the letters back on your wreath, gold side facing up. Before the glue dries, perfect your position exactly how you want and add a little pressure to the points where the glue meets the wreath.

Before unplugging your hot glue gun, you will need to take care of the spare string from steps one and three. Ensure that your knots are tied as tightly as possible and cut the remaining string just above the knot. Lightly brush a bit of hot glue across the edge of the knot where you have just made a cut. This will seal your knot and keep the ends from fraying and your knot from untying.

Allow the glue to fully dry before moving onto step six.

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Almost done! The last step is to secure a hanger to the top of your wreath. You can be creative here, using multiple strands of your string, a single strand, or an alternative piece of ribbon (I found the scalloped gold trim at Target in the dollar section!). If you use a piece of string or twine, you can tie a simple knot or a bow, making the hanger loop as long or short as you would like. A ribbon would look pretty tied in a large bow. For the piece of trim I used, I hot glued one edge on top of the other and applied pressure until it was secure.

And that's it! You've now made an easy ombré Valentine's wreath to hang on your door and impress your roommate/significant other/Galentine's party guests/cat! Look how crafty and seasonally decorative you are!

easy ombré valentine's wreath DIY

Hey again! Two posts in one day? Crazy talk, right? Well, I've had my Valentine's content scheduled for this week and totally forgot about the budgeting bloggers linkup with Franish because I've been on a shopping freeze this month. However, I did buy a couple of things after December's budget post went up since I was traveling and had a few days before my freeze began. I didn't want to miss out on the first linkup of the year and I wanted to be sure I shared the items I wore the most this month (two of which you've already seen here!), so here's a little Monday night post for ya!

What I Bought

what i bought january

Old Navy Open Front Textured Cardigan - $38 (originally $44)
ASOS Reclaimed Vintage Denim Smock Dress - $34 (originally $58)
J.Crew Cable Pom Pom Sweater - $69.99 (used gift cards)

Total Spent: $72
Total Earned on Poshmark: $45
Budget Spent: $27 (out of monthly $250) = $173 under budget

If you saw me in person this month, I was almost definitely wearing one of these pieces. I know I always say the things I buy are my favorites (which, good!), but these really are! I got the dress to wear for a low-key NYE in Nashville, and it was exactly what I wanted: a clean slate dress I can throw on and look cool whether the occasion is a little bit dressy like a networking event or super casual like co-working in a coffee shop.

I had a total Mean Girls moment and bought the yellow sweater after seeing it on Chelsea for a brunch date. (Cue "I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops.) We now have the exact same sweater and are frequently seen wearing it at the same time. Who needs friendship bracelets when you can have friendship cardigans?

The J.Crew sweater was something I'd been stalking for a few weeks in November and December, waiting for it to go on sale. It happened to do so while I was flying to Nashville, so I ordered it from the airplane with my gift cards! I got it in a large, knowing that J.Crew's sweaters are sometimes a little snug around my waist. The reviews said this sweater was boxy, which was a complaint for them but something I was shopping for intentionally. I love the way it fits -- perfectly oversized, nice and long. I'll share it in an outfit post in the next couple of weeks so you can see, but it's currently on sale in limited sizes so you should go go go order it yourself. I kinda want the red one too now, just because it fits so well. We'll see next month if I bought it or not!

Other than these three things which were all purchased before the month actually started, I didn't shop this month! I had a couple of things I kept my eye on in case they went on crazy sale or to remember to check back in with in February to see if I still want, but I didn't have too hard a time with not shopping!

What I Received

what i received january

Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer c/o Shopbop (sold out, available here)
Whirl's Greatest Skater Skirt in Cayenne c/o ModCloth (also available in navy)
Vest Assured Cardigan c/o ModCloth

I always want to be transparent about the products I receive as gifts or partnerships for this ole blog here. I saved up my credit with Shopbop to be able to finally buy the Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer after having it on my wishlist for nearly two years. I love it so much and it's drastically cut down on my hair maintenance time. I definitely didn't think there could be that much difference between a $20 hair dryer and a $200 one, but apparently I was wrong. I definitely recommend putting this on your birthday or holiday wishlist this year!

I also actually forgot to share that I received these pieces from ModCloth last month, and you'll see them in an outfit post very soon!

As always, I'm linking up with Franish and the budgeting bloggers! Be sure to go see what everyone else bought this month!

what i bought in january

austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit18 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit6 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit4 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit3 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit5 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit8 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit19 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit25 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit20 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit12 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit23 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit21 austin fashion blogger cat shirt valentines outfit14
coat: Beehive (similar, similar in plus size) // shirt: exact, also available on Amazon (wearing a large) // skirt: Banana Republic via Poshmark (similar, similar in plus size) // shoes: LOFT (similar) // purse: similar

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you're new around here, then you may not know how obsessed I am with Valentine's Day. The colors, the lovin' on people, the traditions, the decor -- I'm here for all of it. Mostly, of course, I'm here for the outfits. I celebrate myself with a new dress every year for Valentine's (which you'll see very soon!), but wanted to share a little pink and red outfit inspo with separates.

This red skirt has ended up being one of my favorite items in my closet. I haven't even styled it all that differently, relying on the same color palette every time (see Example A and Example B), but it's a bold piece that I get a ton of joy from each time I put it on. What better way to celebrate the day of love than lovin' what you're wearing and lovin' yourself wearing it.

Speaking of loving what you're wearing, I've got two words for you: Cat Shirt. I'd seen this around the Internet for a while, and just thought it was the cutest thing ever. For some reason, I didn't feel strongly enough, though, to actually buy it. Then one night before bed I was scrolling through Instagram when I got a notification from a friend tagging me in a photo of the shirt, where the caption was advertising that it was both on sale and there was a discount code I could use. I actually ordered it right then and there, and then promptly forgot about it. Talk about getting a ton of joy -- receiving a cat shirt by surprise that you paid almost nothing for.

Do you dress up for Valentine's Day? Stay tuned for my official Valentine's outfit of 2017 and a little DIY later this week!

the cat's meow

I try to not apologize for occasional radio silence here on the blog. First, because no one probably noticed (not in a bad way, but like, your Internet consumption def doesn't revolve around this blog!). Second, because blogging is not my full-time job, and I like it that way. I like being able to take a couple of days off if I want and still knowing I've got a paycheck coming my way. What can I say, I like to get paid!

Anyway, I was meeting with my good friend Maggie earlier this week and I was confessing my total lack of motivation to her. It only happens once in a while, maybe a few days a week near the end of the month; I just cannot force myself to come up with an Instagram caption, much less write a blog post. Well, Maggie, the brilliant woman that she is, informed me that this is -- get this -- BECAUSE OF THE MOON! Do you know about moon phases? I know they exist, but I don't know much about them beyond that. Apparently, our productivity is tied to them! During the third quarter, a few days before the new moon, is a passive time when we're prone to want to sit back and reflect, rather than create. You can read more about it here, but basically I'm telling you all of this because if you were feeling unmotivated this week too, you're not alone! We'll get back to it in a few days when the new moon hits and we begin the first quarter again.

Okay, let's get onto some links, shall we?

One of my best friends recently moved to NYC, where Brooklyn's first Alamo Drafthouse (an Austin staple) opened shortly after. She visited and was shocked and disappointed to find that they did not have pizza on their menu. So, of course, she wrote a hilarious blog post about it.

Feeling inspired from the Women's March but aren't sure what to do next? Calling your representatives is one of the most effective things you can do. If you're like me, you may have phone anxiety that makes those calls pretty daunting. Luckily, someone illustrated this awesome guide for how to call your reps when you have social anxiety!

This piece about being the boss, not the #girlboss resonated with me so, so hard. How do you feel about the buzzword? Also h/t to Julie for sharing this in her weekly link roundup!

Interested in shapewear but not sure where to start? My Internet crush Kristin broke down differently priced Spanx to show their effectiveness.

I've been waiting for Katrina to blog this outfit since she shared a sneak peek on Insta. IT'S SO GOOD.

Whether or not you were following along with Kimi's 10x10 winter outfit challenge, I think checking out what she learned from the process is helpful to all of us in taking a closer look at what makes our closet tick.

Adina's closet remodel is mad inspiring. Anyone wanna take a trip to IKEA?

Some hilarious truthbombs on bloggers + publications who try to "simplify" life.

Sarah's annual blogger bloopers posts are always a delight, but this year's is especially fun.

A wishlist! This denim jumper (omgomgomg), this gorgeous swing dress, these cute (yet pricey) pjs, this adorbs umbrella, and this bunny sweatshirt.

Input time! I am officially beginning work on my body positive style workbook this weekend, but thought I should ask first: what do you want to see? Where do you struggle the most with your closet, shopping, or style? What body hangups affect your ability to get dressed or go shopping with ease? I sat down with Maggie a couple of weeks ago and we created a KILLER outline that I am *so* excited about filling in, but I want to make sure I'm not missing something major before getting too far along!

link love

austin style blogger gingham winter outfit1 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit3 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit9 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit2 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit6 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit7 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit12 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit15 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit16 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit18 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit20 austin style blogger gingham winter outfit21
coat: Beehive (similar, similar in plus size) // sweater: H&M (similar, similar in plus size) // shirt: J.Crew Factory (similar in plus size) // jeans: AG c/o Shopbop // boots: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // purse: Frye c/o Shopbop

While I do actually wear all the outfits I blog, I definitely don't blog all the outfits I wear. Some outfits seem either too basic and boring to share or like things you've already seen on blogs/Pinterest (or worn yourself!). This would have been one of those, except that I had Dago snap a pic of me in it during our Nashville trip (you can see that photo here), and I was like "Huh, that's actually a p cute look." So here you go! An easy go-to outfit this winter for work, errands, brunch, hanging with the in-laws, etc. etc. etc.

Y'all know I'm big on layers, and I appreciate that this outfit lends itself to a wide range of temperatures. When I wore it in Nashville, I think it was in the 20s, I've worn it in the 40s a couple of times when working outside of the home or running errands, and it was in the 60s the day we shot these photos and I wore it for the rest of the day (sans coat). Talk about versatile!

How do y'all feel about bloggers sharing basic versus interesting outfits? I feel like that sweet spot is sharing interesting takes on outfits using pieces most people probably own, but I'm always curious what most people prefer, click on, pin, and recreate.

gingham + plaid


The only inauguration thing I can stand to post today: The Women of Hillary Clinton's Campaign are Not Done Fighting (including one of the most incredible women I've ever had to honor of meeting, Lauren Collins Peterson). Also, after quite a bit of anxiety around it, I've decided to join the Women's March on Austin. Will you be there? Send me an Insta message and we can march together!

Do you have a reading goal for 2017? May I suggest a new book Wonderous, written by a friend of mine from college! If you like fantasy, adventure, and checking in with your inner child, I think you'd love this book. I haven't read it, but I did actually help workshop some of it when he first started writing the story, so I'm super proud and excited that he published a freaking book!

The funniest thing you'll see this week.***

***Update: this Who Wore It Better post made me cackle. You get two funniest things this week!

PSA: Kate Spade has socks now. Yes, they're just as cute as you think.

Loving Veronika's tips for staying motivated when working from home. (I might need to add #2 to my own routine!)

Okay, one more from Veronika because I can't not share it too: how to love your body better this year.

Do you ever make style mood boards? I used to, but I think I need to do one at the end of this shopping freeze with my style intention for 2017 in mind. I'm feeling so inspired by Cathy's mood board for spring!

So appreciate Harper's thoughts on unpaid internships.

I hear it's been an awfully snowy winter pretty much everywhere but Austin. Luckily for you, all these Sorel boots are on sale!

I've been wary of face masks and hesitant to get into sheet masks (though I've enjoyed these far more!), but Fran's three-step facial sounds like the perfect weekend activity.

In case you've never read my personally life changing bra fitting post, Indiana links to it in her own post about discovering her true bra size.

And, as always, a little wishlist: this cutie bell sleeve top, these fun and classy earrings, maybe the prettiest tweed blazer ever, this perfect Valentine's clutch, and this phone case I need right meow.

Be safe this weekend, y'all.

link love

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dress: c/o ModCloth (really similar!) // turtleneck: J.Crew (similar in plus size) // boots: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // purse: Frye c/o Shopbop // hat: Brixton c/o Shopbop // earrings: gift from Chelsea ModCloth

While we all know that florals for spring aren't exactly groundbreaking, what about florals before spring? The weather has been a little all over the place here in Austin (and maybe everywhere?) so I threw the rules out of the window with some fun color play and pattern mixing.

When I first came across this dress, I knew it would be perfect for remixing, but I hadn't even thought to layer a top under it until recently! I've been sort of treating this black and white striped tissue turtleneck from J.Crew (last seen here and here) like I did my pink Anthropologie off-the-shoulder blouse (seen here, here, and here) in the summer by trying to pair it with just about everything I own, just to see if I can. Every time the temperatures drop, I start searching for dresses to be able to recreate this winter uniform from a couple years back. If I could just get like 10 dresses in this exact shape, I would only wear this outfit equation (top under dress) for the rest of the winter.

Have you surprised yourself in your closet lately? What item can you not stop wearing?

florals before spring

ways to say no

It's January, so I'm good to still to talk about resolutions, right? One thing I've seen on a handful of lists is to "say no more." After years of saying "no," I'm finally ready to start saying yes; however, all that practice has given me some great strategies for declining invitations with no burned bridges or hurt feelings. Whether it's an opportunity that isn't a great fit, a coffee date request that you're not looking forward to, or any other invitation that you just don't have time for, there are ways to make that "no" easier for both you and the person hearing it.

1. Play matchmaker.

Before accepting any invitation or opportunity, I take a minute to think if I'm really the best person for it. In some ways, this has more to do with considering what is a best fit for my brand, but it also applies to other offers. If someone reaches out to collaborate on a project, does someone come to mind who's totally perfect for it? For instance, if someone asks if I'm interested in starting a book club, I know just the girl. Need someone to help you set a clothing budget? My friend has much more experience in that than I do, and I think y'all would get along swell. Want to do a DIY guest post? My crafty friend was just looking for someone to put one together! I love this strategy because instead of focusing on the "no," you get to open a new door for someone (two people, actually) to move forward.

2. Two birds, one stone.

There was a time a couple of years ago when I literally did not have room in my schedule for one more coffee date. Even if it was with someone I wanted to get to know better, my weekly calendar was too booked to fit one in. Instead of declining altogether, I started thinking of one night a week as my office hours. I would post up at a coffee shop while I worked on blog posts or podcast planning and let anyone who asked know that I'd be there if they wanted to come work on stuff and keep me company. If you've got a local co-working group you can join one day a week, that can be a great way to get work done while still engaging in your community. Plus, someone who comes to see you might meet another person in the group, and then step one has taken care of itself!

From a business standpoint, this strategy looks a little bit different. If a brand contacts me wanting to collaborate on a specific feature that doesn't interest me, I'll do my own brainstorm sesh and try to come up with a counter-pitch. Just because the offered opportunity isn't a good fit doesn't mean there isn't a potential collaboration in there that may be more mutually beneficial. Even if there is a specific campaign a company is trying to promote, most are just looking for exposure and to be affiliated with what you've got going on, so they'll be open to what that looks like when working with you.

3. Be honest.

Honesty is always the best policy, isn't it? That's what they say, but there are a couple of reasons it really can be the best way to decline. First, none of us is the only one with a busy schedule. If you can't sacrifice even one night this month for an event, it's not the end of the world. Your time is precious and should be guarded -- no matter what anyone tells you. When you put yourself first, you set an example that saying "no" is allowed, is okay, and is how we all can all strive for work/life balance.

The other reason you should be honest is because, depending on the offer, you may be able to turn a "no" into someone else's "yes." Was something about the pitch way off base? For instance, if they offered way below the industry standard rate, you letting them know could help them reevaluate their ask. Have you ever been turned down for a job and wished you knew why? Giving a little feedback can go a long way!

Do you have trouble saying "no" or wish it weren't so uncomfortable? How do you deal with turning down offers and invitations?

3 ways to say no + why it's totally okay to say it

austin fashion blogger vintage white coat7 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat10 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat13 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat8 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat5 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat15 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat14 austin fashion blogger vintage white coat4
coat: c/o Winola Vintage // turtleneck: J.Crew (similar in plus size) // jeans: Gap // booties: Madden Girl (similar) // purse: Pieceology Vintage

I have long been jealous of the girls who rock white in the winter. Like, did you just wake up and decide "I'm going to stunt on everyone by being chic as f*ck today"? Because I definitely did when I put together this outfit (inspired by this fab look). I spotted this gorgeous white vintage coat in Winola Vintage's beautifully curated shop and saw an opportunity to dress like Alexa Chung. Natch, I couldn't pass that up!

If shopping vintage feels a little out of the box for you, I seriously recommend starting with vintage outerwear. Because outerwear is a bit of a statement in itself, you have room to try something that stands apart from the rest of your style. Picture a unique tweed blazer over your favorite jeans and blouse outfit for work, or a brightly colored peacoat with a dress and tights for date night dinner. Vintage wool, leather, and knit are of a quality you don't come by as often today. They've held up in quality for decades while remaining timeless in style.

Being both white and vintage, I expected there to be a possibility for discoloration or natural wear on this coat. I was so pleasantly surprised when it arrived from Winola Vintage in mint condition, as if it had come right off the rack just yesterday. I've got my eye on a couple of other pieces in her shop, like this denim blouse (so very Madewell!), this floral midi skirt, and this pastel striped sweater. She's even got a great little turtleneck like the one I'm wearing here! Lucky for you, my readers get $5 off any order of $20 or more using code WRITESLIKEAGIRL. Be sure to follow the shop on Instagram to keep up with new arrivals!

winter white

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