This + That // Sales + Steals

February 17, 2017

Since being gone last weekend, I still feel like I'm playing catch up. My husband is actually out of town this weekend, so I will be doing lots of fun things like laundry, vacuuming, and walking the dogs while hes away. I may even try to talk Molly and her pups into coming over for pizza and a sleepover one night. I am admittedly one of those people who gets scared being in the house alone at night - even with two big dogs and an alarm system, so I'll take all the company I can get! (read on to get the sales + steals)

This + That:

Some Sales:

  • Ann Taylor: 40% off all full priced styles + extra 50% off all sale styles with code WEEKEND. (How good are these!? Loving the blush pink and the red version.)
  • Anthropologie: Extra 40% off sale items! (This in the grey is such a good buy.)
  • Banana Republic: The Love Everything Event – 40% off your purchase! (This is perfect for the current weather we’re having in Dallas – I love the sleeve detail.)
  • BaubleBar: The Semi-Annual stock up event! Up to 70% off hundreds of almost gone styles. (I’ve been on the fence about chokers and can honestly say that I will most likely not own one, but this is one of the cutest ones I’ve seen!)
  • Bloomingdales: Take 20% off with code NEWARRIVALS. (Pretty much obsessed with this – in both colors.)
  • Bluemercury: Use code ROSES for a “bouquet” of free treats with any $100 purchase. (This has amazing reviews. Unfortunately, it contains ingredients you can’t use while pregnant, but I think Molly needs to try it out for the both of us!)
  • Calypso St. Barth: Enjoy an extra 60% off sale! (This is a great layering piece – under cardigans, blazers, etc.!)
  • Crate & Barrel: Up to 20% off beds, bedding, and mattresses through 2/20!
  • Free People: Free standard delivery through Sunday, February 19th. (Loving everything about this! Including the price.)
  • Gap: 25% off your purchase with code MORE. (Really like this sweet variation on your classic button down.)
  • Hatch: End of season sale! 40% off all Fall/Winter! (I’ve been eyeing this top for quite some time now, no surprise since I love a good white top. Also, this jacket is perfect for this time of year – I especially love the sleeve length!)
  • H&M: Deals from $5! Up to 70% off through 2/20. Use code 7779 for free shipping! (I think these are so cute to tuck in to a pair of jeans!)
  • J.Crew: In stores and online: 20% off select tops and pants with code MUSTHAVES. (Thinking I could use this in both colors – the length is perfect for a bump!)
  • J.Crew Factory: 50% off everything! In stores and online.
  • kate spade new york: Enjoy an extra 25% off all sale styles with code BUBBLY. (These would make for a cute happy engagement gift!)
  • LOFT: 40% off everything + 50% off sale styles with code HAPPY. (These are SO cute and so well priced.)
  • Lou & Grey: 25% off everything! (These would be my bffs if I had them in my closet. Elastic waist = yes please.)
  • Madewell: Extra 30% off sale styles with code MOODLIFT. (I only wish I could fit this over my growing bump, but maybe Molly needs to get it?)
  • Old Navy: 30% off your order through 2/18 with code ENJOY. (Loving this in the black for a night out.)
  • Saks: Up to $150 off when you shop Women’s denim with code DENIM17 through 2/20. (I will admit that there are some days where I miss variety in my denim, or the denim that fits me, which has me eyeing these.)
  • Steve Madden: 25% off + free shipping with code PREZ. (Really like these in the camel color.)
  • Tuckernuck: New markdowns! 20% off sale items with code EXTRA20.

Some Steals:

1. Furbish Green Swirl Cheese Board ($78 → $35) // 2. Topshop Box Pleat Cold Shoulder Top ($85) // 3. Mango Double Pearl Earrings ($19.99) // 4. Madewell Bell-Sleeve Shirt in Stripe ($69 → $55, and extra 30% off with code "MOODLIFT")

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V-Day Style

Bows Sweater

A sweet holiday calls for wearing, well, something sweet! We love the perfect pink of this sweater from Mango but it’s really the bows that can be tied at the bell sleeves that takes its cute factor up several notches. Pair with some whimsical shoes or a festive bag and you’re ready for Valentine’s Day!

Lifestyle

@APIECEOFTOAST

DUO Body Cleansing

February 16, 2017

Me before showering: I don't want to shower.
Me once in the shower: I live here now.

Am I the only one who kind of...dreads showering? Don't get me wrong, I like to look and feel clean - and I definitely loooove being in the shower once I actually force myself to get in - but I get unnecessary anxiety leading up to the task. I've thought about it an I think the dread comes from the fact that I'm not a quick shower kind of gal. I like to really suds up, exfoliate, shave my legs, let my conditioner sit, wash my face with multiple cleaners, and follow up with lotion from tip to toe. It's a whole routine that I'd love to simplify without feeling like I'm away something important.

Well, the reason for this post is that I found a way to combine a few of my shower steps with one innovative product: DUO. It's a brand new dual-sided cleaning tool that gives the same "clean" as bar soap, the "care" of a body wash, and the textured experience of a puff/cloth. I test drove the Olay DUO with Soothing Orchid & Black Currant scent offering (the tool also comes in Old Spice Swagger or Pure Sport and Ivory Refreshing Clean) and was so impressed after one shower use that I've abandoned nearly 4 products/tools in favor of only using the DUO!

 

I’ve always been someone who favors using a bar of soap in lieu of a body wash (I felt like I get a better lather with a bar!) but body washes definitely deliver a scent quality that I like. Sometimes I typical shower for me starts with sudsing with a bar of soap, rinsing, followed by a body wash and shaving, rinsing, then using a body scrub or mit to exfoliate. I know…that’s a lot of steps. The DUO gives me all the same results (clean skin, scented and hydrated skin, and exfoliated skin) in one product versus four.

After getting the DUO under water, the flexible cleaner inside the two layers immediately starts to lather. Unlike bar soaps, the DUO conforms to the curves of your body and is really easy to hold onto…an aspect that really made me feel like I was getting a good clean! First I do a once over with the smooth side (which is very soft but not slippery) then follow back over the scrubby side. I looove the feeling of a good scrub! The exfoliating side is nice (and honestly the side I prefer most) because the texture isn’t ultra rough and doesn’t irritate or over work the skin. Once I’m all lathered I hang the duo with it’s handy little loop, shave my legs, and feel like a million bucks.

Sometimes I spend the extra time I save using DUO and not my other various products/tools to stand under the hot water and zone out, and sometimes I hop out of the shower early and jump into my hair routine, cutting my whole “getting ready time” down. Either way, I feel good (and smell amazing, by the way) knowing that I got such good clean (2 times better than what I would have gotten from a basic body wash and puff) and have softer, smoother skin.

Don’t just take my word for it, try a revolutionary DUO for yourself! You can find coupons for the DUOs here (just type “duo” into the search bar!) and shop the DUOs online and at mass and food retailers.

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V-Day Gifting

Secret Admirer

Penny for your thoughts? No? How about a cute place to stash those pennies and maybe a few love notes, too? This little heart coin purse from kate spade new york is one of those seriously cute accessories we all want but hardly ever buy for ourselves…which of course makes it an ideal gift! Even better: it’s on sale ($88 → $61)! And of course, ksny has a whole host of V-Day perfect gifts right here (we love these earrings and this fun ring)…

V-Day Style

Heart Blouse

Forget about wearing your heart on your sleeve…put that love on full display with a little collar action! We just love the sweet, quirky hearts adorning the neckline of this white blouse (also available here) as much as we like its voluminous, paneled shape. All the pieces by Vivetta feel so special and whimsical – we’d happily take any of the Italian-made designs – and those with hearts are just too perfect for this time of year. Hello, this dress!

Current Vibes

February 15, 2017

Molly and I had the best, most wonderful weekend in Austin. The weather was beyond amazing and we spent a good portion of it outdoors on our Aunt and Uncle's back patio. My only regret is that we didn't get Amy's Ice Cream (Mexican vanilla, obvi) like we had intended to. Wondering if we can have that shipped to Dallas? I always have a very hard time transitioning back and getting motivated after being out of town and our rainy day yesterday certainly didn't help. With today being a sunny day, I'm going to walk our dogs (they missed their mom but maybe missed our walks more!) and get organized around here. (keep reading for my vibes...)

1. BUYING // ALL THE BUNNIES: One baby/child company that I have loved since early on in my pregnancy – after discovering it at MADRE here in Dallas – is Petit Pehr. They make the most darling, yet tasteful products that don’t scream bright colors and obnoxiousness like these products for children often do. The pieces are classic, yet also have a more modern vibe to them and can easily mix into anywhere in the home, not just a child’s room or playroom. Practical products like quilts/blanketshooded towels, and swaddling blankets are done in darling prints that are sweet and subtle and for the most part, gender neutral. Being the bunny lover that I am, I absolutely adore each and everything thing done in their precious tiny bunny print. Have you ever seen anything cuter? I love how thick and soft this is – perfect for tummy time on the floor. I also can’t get enough of their pom pom storage bins that come in various sizes. They could be used for everything from a laundry hamper to housing toys and books or even diapers. The brand also makes products for the home that are equally as pretty and visually pleasing!

2. LOVING // KLD BRACELETS: Since the beginning of blogging, Molly and I have always said that one of our most favorite parts about blogging is connecting with small brands and businesses. Among these businesses is the ladies of mml pr out of LA. The owner, Merritt ranks right up there with one of my favorite people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with over the years. Its no surprise, living in LA and working amongst fabulous brands, that Merritt has great taste herself. A few weeks ago, Merritt posted an Instagram of her and some friends wearing stacks of these amazing gold, beaded bracelets by Karen Lazar Design. Ever since discovering the brand through her, I can’t seem to get creating a stack of my own off my mind. The bracelets come in yellow goldrose gold, and sterling silver and come in various widths. I love the look of mixing different sizes and having a few bracelets stacked. They even look good mixed with other bracelets/watches – see various stacks here! I’m thinking that I definitely need to start a Karen Lazar bracelet collection of my own!

3. SPRAYING // JOSH ROSEBROOK: I don’t remember which site I found Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator on, but I read the reviews and then proceeded to binge read reviews on multiple other sites. The results seemed undeniable and people were completely obsessed with this miracle product. Consider me another smitten kitten to add to the masses as this is my latest “must have” beauty buy (I’ve been using it for a few weeks now!). I wasn’t necessarily needing a new toner or facial mist, but then again maybe I was and just didn’t realize it. The Hydrating Accelerator is the perfect amount of moisture on top of my freshly cleaned face and I find that it really helps whatever serum or oil I apply next to absorb into my skin. I always have anxiety that the $$ I spend on expensive serums and oils just ends up rubbing off on my pillow at night and this spray eases those worries. I also find that I have to use less of those said serums, which is an added bonus! On top of using this as a toner after cleansing (double cleansing if I have had makeup on), I also have been using it as a makeup setting spray. With how dry my skin is this time of year, doing this keeps my skin dewy looking for hours. I haven’t even mentioned the smell, which reminds me of marshmallows – in the best way possible. As of a creature of habit with my skincare routine, I already know that the Hydrating Accelerator is going to become a regular of mine.

4. COLLECTING // PJ SETS: I told my husband that for Christmas all I wanted was pajamas, slippers, and a robe and I wasn’t kidding with him. Luckily, he took me seriously and my wishes were granted. You can never have enough PJs in my opinion – especially white pregnant! Had I made a wish list for Valentine’s Day (we both decided on no gifts as a new baby is the best gift we could ever ask for), these new jammies at Madewell. I just love their pj’s – and the wide-legged, cropped pant is different but in the best way, especially  paired with the classic, short sleeved top. The blush-colored stripe is different than any other pajama set I have…

5. READING // GOOD BOOKS: These days, pregnancy insomnia is no joke. I think my family has become accustomed to my late night emails with random thoughts/concerns with the subject line “insomnia” to explain why I would be sending such things at such an hour. Late night emailing aside, I’m often up far later than my husband indulging in a good book as I find it is the best way to eventually give me the tired eyes and put me to sleep. At the recommendation of a friend, I’ve read two books lately that I find myself telling all of my reader friends about. “It Ends With Us” and “Swear On This Life” were both so amazing and captivating that I couldn’t help but share them with you all. I am always open to more recommendations, too!

6. SWOONING // MI GOLONDRINA x MADRE: Our love affair with all things Mi Golondrina runs deep and wide and we have a true appreciation for each and every product they put out. I have to admit that when I saw they were working with local children’s store MADRE on products for little girls, I told Cristina I only wished they could do something for little boys, too. I’m still holding out hope! Regardless, I cannot get over how adorable this sneak peek of the collaboration is. The bloomers paired with Mi Golondrina embroidered tops are perfect for Spring and Summertime for little girls. How sweet would they look with a little cardigan before it gets warm out? I’ve already told my husband that I might need to buy a set just in case we have a baby girl in the future, but he thought that seemed slightly crazy seeing as we don’t even have our baby boy yet. I guess in the meantime I will spread the word to all of my friends who have baby girls!

7. WATCHING // HIDDEN FIGURES: Our trips to Austin to visit our aunt and uncle are always just what we need – lots of relaxing, time in the sunshine, yummy food and quality time. We usually end up watching a few movies at night and going to the movie theater too. This time, we saw Hidden Figures and all concluded that it was beyond amazing. I think I experienced all of the various feels throughout the movie, including both an aching heart and a happy heart. Without giving anything away, I definitely recommend seeing it, especially since its up for Best Picture at the Oscars this year.

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V-Day Gifting

Madewell Lace Set

Valentine’s Day is a great time to spread the love to your special people and also a perfect excuse to show yourself a little love. We’ve found that self-gifting pretty, lacy things (undies, nightgowns, etc.) is almost better than indulging in chocolate and obviously longer-lasting than flowers. The brand new intimates collection – and selection of sets – at Madewell are what we’re both loving when it comes to pretty underpinnings.

 

V-Day Style

Lightening Bolt Slides

We both have a big thing with slides (aka: mules and slip-ons) and our favorite styles are the slipper and half-loafer varieties. Lucky for us, our go-to shoes are rather trendy at the moment and it’s hard to not find new styles to love on a regular basis. The Mango pair giving us major hearts for eyes covered in a printed pink fabric and adorned with crystal lightening bolts of pink & red. Boom. We’ll take two in a size 8, please!

Meet The Loveliest

February 14, 2017

Happy Heart Day! I could not think of a better time to share one of my favorite small businesses in Dallas: The Loveliest. Since moving back to Dallas I've had the pleasure of getting to know the Britni and Kelsey, the sisters who own the beautiful embroidery shop with their darling mama. Essentially, I've forced them to become my friends. And though my weekly visits might make me a full fledged stalker, I can't stay away from them and their store and my love (pun intended - especially today) and admiration just continues to grow.

Britni and Kelsey have managed to perfectly mirror their personal aesthetic onto their brand. They're incredibly warm (and happy, and kind) and their charming southern roots (they grew up in Abilene, TX) compliment the bohemian undertones and layered mix of clean, traditional (but not boring), sweet (but not sugary sweet), and whimsical (but not trendy) offerings they so carefully curate. My soft spot for entrepreneurial women - especially sister operations - is well known but that's not the only reason why I'm crazy for The Loveliest. Standing out in the vast world of retail can be difficult but and these sisters have managed to set themselves apart with unique monogram options (done with extreme attention to detail and quality), lovely linens, special decor items and tabletop pieces, and thoughtful gifts and accessories. They love each other and it's impossible not to see that same love reflected in every inch of their brick-and-mortar store and on each page of their online shop.

I did a little Q+A session with the Kelsey and Britni as a way to get to know more about them and showcase what makes The Loveliest so special...hope you enjoy it on this Valentine's Day!

 

Q: How did you take the leap to opening The Loveliest?
A: We have always dreamt of creating a business together, but in true Wood girl fashion, we really just took a leap of faith in actually going for it! Britni and I had both lived all over the country since graduating from SMU and both decided in December of 2014 that it was time to start thinking about moving back to Texas to be near family. While home for Christmas, we spotted a darling house for lease in the Fairmount District, which is one of our favorite areas in Dallas. Within a couple of weeks, we had found our storefront, purchased an embroidery machine (which we had no idea how to use) and were headed to market in NY for our first buying trip! We hit the ground running when we got back to Dallas and opened our doors in May of 2015. While creating our brand has been a lot of work, it’s also something that has come rather naturally for us.  From the look of our shop to the lines we carry and the monograms we design, we always try to stay true to what we personally love.

Q: How did you decide on making Dallas the spot to open the store?
A: Dallas is a very sentimental place for us. We love this city! Growing up just three hours away in Abilene, we spent a lot of time here as children. As I mentioned above, Britni and I both moved here to attend SMU, but then moved away after college. Our parents still live in Abilene and will likely move to Dallas in the near-future, so when we decided it was time to actually go for it and start a business together, it was a no brainer as to where we do it. Dallas has been the perfect place to create the business, but we are having so much fun that we plan to expand beyond Texas soon!

Q: I know that your mama’s linen collection was the starting point for your joint love of linens, but how did you decide to embark on embroidery and monogramming as the hallmark of The Loveliest
A: We felt that there was a real void in the market for monogramming and embroidery that we could identify with. We weren’t finding the linens or the designs that we were drawn to, so we decided to create our own!

Q: As someone who is not a “monogram girl,” your options have totally changed my view of the traditional (or stereotypical?) monogram styles we usually see. Did you have this in mind when you were creating and choosing the styles of monograms you would offer?
A: We hear you, sister! Neither one of us have truly ever been the traditional monogram type. However, we have had such fun coming up with non-traditional and modern designs that appeal to even the least likely of monogram fans. We know that we’re not the only ones offering unique embroidery options, but I do think that our attention to detail is a rarity. Perfectionists to a fault, we even use the matching bobbin when stitching an item so that it looks the monogram looks the same from both sides.

Q: I love the color combinations you all come up with when pairing linens with thread colors and the mix of boho and traditional products you offer. How do your personal tastes and aesthetics influence what you do/buy for the store and the brand?
A: Our rule of thumb is that we must be able to imagine everything that we buy, design or create in our own home. It’s been really fun to see all three of our aesthetics come together to create a really colorful and thoughtful variety of offerings.

Color is so important to us! We’ve been able to base not only the branding, but the products of our store on color. It’s so important to know how colors work together. It’s easy for a design to look too sweet or too masculine, but being able to use the right colors, the design on a whole looks very balanced. That is something that we hold ourselves to in every design!

Q: If you all were a monogram style you offer, which would you be?
Kelsey: I would be Crepe Myrtle and would pick Forget Me Not for Brit
Britni: I would be Hollyhock and would pick Ginger for Kelsey
Britni and Kelsey: We both think that as the Queen Bee of the family, mom would be Cherry Blossom

Q: What are the best and worst parts about being small business owners? 
A: As with any job, there’s always the good, the bad and the ugly, but we absolutely love our new role as small business owners! What could possibly be so bad about waking up every day, working with your mom and sister from a darling little white carriage house, visiting with customers who have become great friends, and putting our heads together to create beautiful things? If we had to complain about something/anything, it would be that we never feel like our work is really complete. From buying for the shop to keeping up with online orders, creating our own line, handling our own graphic design and marketing efforts, and so on, it’s a lot of work! All worth it though!

Q: What are the best and worst parts about retail?
A: It is no secret that the retail world is a tough world to be in most of the time. We’ve seen trends that we didn’t even know existed until we decided to open a retail store! Hence, why we quickly discovered it was imperative that we create an online shop that would allow anyone to shop from anywhere at anytime. We knew that we wanted to try and create the same enjoyable experience that we offer in the shop, but in a way that doesn’t leave one feeling completely overwhelmed while choosing from a computer screen. Now that our online shop is off the ground and our customer base is growing on a national level, we are even more focused on create awareness of our brand on a larger scale.

Q: Because Sally and I get asked this a lot: how do you like being both sisters and business partners? 
A: We honestly have no complaints! How often do you get to speak your mind and know that you won’t get fired for it?! Ha. We really do have a blast working together. There are certain things that we have each ended up taking ownership over, but we truly try to make most decisions together on everything from buying for the store to coming up with new monogram designs to managing finances. The best part about being business partners and sisters is that we both understand how much we each loved our former careers. When given the opportunity for Britni to travel back to Los Angeles to style a photo shoot or for me to consult on a political campaign or event, we push one another to take it!

Q: What experiences from your past careers help you today with The Loveliest?
Kelsey: We have all worked in creative roles prior to starting The Loveliest, but each of our careers have been quite different from the other!

Britni was a Style Editor for Martha Stewart Weddings before moving over to the Anthropologie brand to start their wedding shop, BHLDN. She went on to start her own styling company and continues to style for various magazines and brands. As her sister, I feel like I can say that she has a way of making everything look perfect. From changing the store around from week to week and making everything look new, to designing many of our beautiful custom monograms, she is hands down the most creative person I’ve ever known.

Our mom owned a children’s clothing store when we were much younger, which she also did a lot of the designing for. She has such an eye for design, is quite a lover of textiles and a lover of people, which are all things that are a huge asset to The Loveliest!

My background is rather interesting because of the different arenas in which I’ve worked in. I have always loved interior design and so enjoy styling homes for customers and friends, but my background is primarily in special events. The majority of my experience was in the political arena, where I worked on the 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns, followed by a position with The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which I continue to care so deeply about.

Between the three of us, we manage to make it all happen and are just so grateful for this opportunity to create something wonderful together.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge and biggest celebration?
A: Our biggest challenge is weathering the nature of a brick and mortar retail store. Our biggest celebration thus far has been the launch of our beautiful website! Every single item was photographed in-house, every detail was seen to, and it was a true labor of love.

Q: Aside from the launch of the website (which is amazing) and offering all your in-store embroidery options and products online, are there any future plans for The Loveliest you all can share with us?
A: Yes! We are in the process of creating our own line of table linens, pillows, bed clothing and baby accessories, with plans to grow a presence in markets beyond Dallas.

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