Gift Exchange Guide

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Skirt: Similar Shirt: Similar Shoes: Similar  Headband: Same

 I LOVE a good holiday gift exchange.  I have already been to one white elephant gift party and am going to another one this coming weekend.  The only hard part for me is always coming up with a good present to bring.  I always want to find something that will actually be enjoyed, not just fill someone’s junk drawer.  Below, I have rounded up a list of ideas for what you can bring to your next gift exchange party.

  1. Christmas Candle- I brought a Christmas candle to my party last weekend and it ended up getting stolen three times!  You can’t go wrong with a good Christmas scent during this season, and who doesn’t love the warm glow of candles?
  2. Fuzzy Socks- I LOVE fuzzy socks, and if I happen to see someone open a package with them, you better believe it that I am going to keep an eye on that package to steal if I get a chance.
  3. Lotions and Body Wash- this one is a little bit more risky in my book, some people don’t like certain scents of body wash and lotion, but if you go with a good warm vanilla scent or some other neutral one, it is almost certain to be a winner!
  4. Candy- seriously, who does not love a box or basket of candy?  Especially if it is chocolate?
  5. Gift Card- if you don’t have time to come up with a cute gift idea, a gift card to Starbucks or a local restaurant is a good backup idea that will still be appreciated.
  6. Christmas Cookie Cutters- most people love to make Christmas cookies, so why not bring cute cookie cutters that they can use year after year?
  7. Hot Chocolate Mix and Mug- This makes a cute little gift idea, and you could even add marshmallows and a big bow!
  8. Snack Basket- you can buy a basket and tie a big bow around it and fill it with popular snacks and candies.
  9. Christmas Movie- Everyone loves a good Christmas movie, so buy your favorite Christmas movie and add some popcorn and maybe a cute fuzzy blanket and socks for a fun movie basket!
  10. Ugly Christmas Sweater- Go buy the ugliest oversized Christmas sweater you can find, the person who opens this will get a good laugh and be able to wear it to the rest of their parties during the season!

What are some of you favorite things to bring to a White Elephant Christmas party?  Like I mentioned above, I have another one this coming weekend, so stay tuned to Instagram to see the special gift I have planned for that party!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope everyone has been having a wonderful day filled with family and friends and thinking through everything you are thankful for.  Tomorrow I’m going to share a recap of my Thanksgiving as well as how I decorated our table, but for tonight I want to share some things I am thankful for.  This past Sunday at church our pastor encouraged us to spend the last five minutes of the service writing down a list of things that we were thankful for.  I quickly discovered I was not finished after I had filled a page and have continued with the list since.  For Thanksgiving I thought I would share twenty things I am thankful for here on the blog.

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  1. Incredible parents who love me and have supported me my whole life.
  2. Sisters who are my best friends and that I know are always there for me.
  3. An incredible group of friends who are seriously more like family to me than friends, community is an incredible gift that I do not take for granted and am so thankful for.

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4. Food on the table

5. A job that I can actually enjoy going to throughout the week with incredible coworkers that I enjoy spending the day with.

6.  The blessing of having the chance to go back to school and pursue a degree I love and being able to do so debt free.

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7. Dance.  When I had to quite dance at 9 I was devastated.  I am so thankful that God gave me the opportunity to get to dance again later in my life and even pursue the dream of earning my pointe shoes.

8. A chance to travel.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to go on many missions trips and as a result see the world and meet so many incredible people.  One of the greatest gifts this has given me is actually finally being able to understand the bigger picture that the church truly is.  It is so encouraging to know that there are people serving God all over this world even when I can’t see them.

9. An incredible church that I love where I learn every week more about God and have found an incredible community and grown so much in my faith.

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10.  A car that while it has had issues, gets me to where I need to be.

11. The baristas at my favorite coffee shop downtown that know my favorite drink and always have it already started for me before I even step foot inside.

12.  Extended family that is always there and that I enjoy seeing when we get together.

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13. Living close to work and being able to come home for lunch and spend time with my puppy and family.

14. My sweet puppy Checotah and cats Tiger and Oreo, they bring so much joy to my life with their sweet cuddles and personalities.

15. I am thankful that when I look over my life how I can see God’s fingerprints all over it and know that truly, I have never walked alone, He has always been there and always will be.

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16. A bookshelf overflowing with books in my bedroom that I love sitting down to read.

17. Afternoons spent playing the piano and soaking up the music.

18. The holiday season and how it brings family and friends together, both ones you see all the time and ones that you don’t see often.

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19. The gift of the Bible and living in a country where I am free to read it and study it without fear of being arrested.

20. And finally the most important thing I am thankful for, the gift of salvation.  When I truly stop and think of this, my mind truly can’t comprehend the love that God must have for us that he would send his ONLY SON to die a horrific death to save ungrateful wretches who were living in rebellion against him.  I will forever be thankful that he to give my a life filled with his grace.

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Fall With Versona

Kimono: Versona c/o Striped Tee: Same  Denim Skirt:  Same  Booties: Similar

I was so excited when Versona invited me to come see their fall collection and pick out some pieces to share with you!  They have so many cute pieces that I couldn’t wait to share with you!  My three favorites are pictured up above, and let me tell you, it was so hard to choose!  I ended up walking out with almost all of them!  This kimono was a no brainer for me, as you know if you’ve been following me on Instagram, falls in the Midwest take a little bit longer for the cooler weather to set in.  This doesn’t change my desire for layers and autumn inspired colours, which made this kimono the perfect transition piece!  The colours are so gorgeous for this time of year, and the light weight material makes it the perfect transition piece for layering!  I have already worn in also with jeans and a white tee and a military inspired necklace too.  I love the look of it though with the distressed denim skirt and booties, it has that perfect dressy casual look for spending a Friday night or weekend with some friends while still being comfortable.

I can’t wait to share with you on Monday the other pieces I chose as well!  Anyone care to guess which ones were the winners?  Leave me a comment to let me know which pieces are your favorite!

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Falling Into Gingham

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Dress: Similar Cardigan: Same- only this years version Shoes: Princess Dreams

I have a confession to make.  You’re totally going to see this theme throughout my next several posts, but I am totally feeling a European flair for my outfit themes this fall.  Every combination I tend to lean towards right now has some element about it that makes me feel ready to just hop on a plane (or should I say aeroplane) and go spend the next six months in Europe.  While picking up and leaving for Europe unfortunately is not an option, I have most definitely been enjoying coming up with combinations in my wardrobe that make me feel as though I were heading off to see Buckingham Palace of the Eiffel tower or any other European attraction that I am dreaming of seeing.

While this outfit definitely has a summer flare to it, the cardigan helps it transition towards fall, and truthfully, while fall is on its way, it is still pretty warm here in the Midwest and the thought of fully transitioning to sweaters makes me break out in a sweat! To start the transition to fall though I am trying to begin adding layers and a light weight cardigan like this one is the perfect answer!  I can wear it in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler, but by midmorning I can throw it over my shoulders like this to wear for the rest of the day!   What are some of your favorite combinations for fall?

Xoxo, Leighton Michele

Easter Dress Inspiration

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Dress: Similar  and Similar Shoes: Similar

Holy cow, can it really be April already and Easter in only two weeks?  This year has just flown by, it feels like just yesterday we were celebrating New Years at a friends house and now it is time to start picking out Easter dresses.   As most of you know if you read this blog post, I already have my Easter dress picked out, but there are so many cute options out there, so I rounded up several of my top picks for you that can worn beyond Easter.  I’ve tried to choose dresses from a variety of price points, from the lower budget on up.  Which ones would you want to wear?

One: Retro Yellow

This fun yellow lace dress has me head over heels.  The color and lace pattern are perfect for Easter, and the silhouette is that retro look I love.

Two: Striped Shift Dress

This striped shift dress is a more affordable option for a dress and I am loving the nautical feel the stripes bring to it.  I can just picture it with a cute pair of wedges and nautical inspired accessories.  The best part is that this dress could totally be dressed down for the afternoon while watching the kids do their Easter Egg huts and be worn again throughout the whole summer.

Three: Stripe Addiction

In case you haven’t heard yet, I am seriously obsessed with stripes.  They are my go-to pattern and  I cannot get enough of them, which probably explains my obsession with this dress.  The stripes, the colors, it is absolutely perfection and under $100!  Definitely on my list of wants…. or is that needs?

Four: Striped Midi

This darling striped midi is reminiscent of a designer dress that was so popular last year, but actually affordable!  It is such a sweet look, and the midi length is so on trend for this year.

Five: Seersucker Inspiration

And for this final one I had to include a seersucker dress.  I mean, every girl needs at least one go-to seersucker in her wardrobe and it is the perfect fabric for spring and Easter.  This dress is the perfect combination of the traditional seersucker baby doll dress with a fun twist in the back that will have you head over heels in love with it.

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xoxo,

Leighton Michele

The Power of Alterations

I’m sorry that this post is a week late, but last week on Friday I was at a rehearsal dinner for the besties wedding, so I’m afraid that this blog post was the last thing on my mind.  I am so excited to get to share it with you now though!  Earlier this month I started this blog series and in the first post I talked about defining your personal style and in the second about building a wardrobe you love.  Today we are going to wrap up this series and talk about the power of alterations. Learning to utilize alterations has been a game changer in my wardrobe as well as shopping.

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I love shopping the sale racks, at least 75% of my wardrobe, if not more, was bought on sale.  I love to find pieces I love that are still full price and then watch them for the day that they go on sale.  This works great until the item that you love is not left in your size when you get to the sale rack.  I have had to walk away from so many items over the years because they just didn’t fit quite right or they were not  the right size even though the price was totally right.   It wasn’t until I worked in a bridal shop while I was in college that I learned I did not have to leave those cute items on the sale rack for someone else.  At this job I was finally exposed to the wonderful world of alterations!

It all started clicking for me when I watched our alterations lady bring a size 20 dress down to a size 8 for a bride who had found a discontinued dress that she loved but was not in her size.  I would have never thought it would be possible, but when she was finished with that dress it looked perfect!  You never would have thought that it had been taken in by six sizes!  This got me to thinking, if I found a dress on the rack that I loved but was no longer available in my size, could I have it altered to fit also?  At what point does it make sense to do this?  Well, after a few years of practice, I now have answers to those questions.

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The dress in this post is a perfect example of alterations in action.  I found it on the  sale rack at Dillard’s and it was love at first sight.  My only problem?  It was a size 10, and typically in dresses I wear about a size 4 with a few exceptions.  The price was really good though, so knowing that it would cost about $15-$20 to alter it, I made the decision that the sale price was good enough to say yes to buying it and going for alterations.

One of the things I always consider before buying a piece that I know will need alterations is, “Will I get enough use out of this item to be willing to pay the price for alterations?” This is followed by,  “How good is the sale on the item I am buying?”  In the case of this dress, it was already on sale and I was buying it during the New Years Day sale so there was an extra 40% off the already on sale price, so the price was really good and I had been looking for a dress like this for awhile.  In cases like that, it is very easy to say yes to the idea of alterations, other times though, it is a little bit harder.

The next thing you need to consider is, will the shape of this item flatter my body shape when altered down to my size?  This one was a little harder for me to learn, but after a lot of trial and error and learning what shapes I like on my body type it has gotten easier over the years.  One way to answer this question is, do I have anything in my wardrobe that is a similar shape?  If so, do you like how it feels?  In the case of this dress, this is a very common silhouette for me, so it was a very easy yes.  I knew exactly how it would fit after alterations and that it was a shape I love wearing.  On other items it can sometimes be a little harder.  In these cases I will try to find something else in the store that is a similar shape in my size that I can try on.  If I can’t find any similar silhouettes, I try holding in the item in the places where I would have it taken in to try to get a feel for whether or not I would like it.

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Alterations can be a wonderful tool, and one that I have learned to utilize on a regular basis.  It is important though to realize that they do have their limits.  If an item is too small, there unfortunately is not a lot to do.  It can be hard, but in those cases it is better to leave it on the rack than buy it only to have it hang in your closet never worn because you don’t feel comfortable in it.

What are some of your tips when dealing with alterations?  Have you ever bought an item planning to have it altered before?  What was your experience?

Xoxo,

Leighton Michele

Caught My Eye

If you follow me on Instagram then it is no secret that my bestie got married this weekend! What couldn’t be seen on Instagram was my panic when I realized that I totally had forgotten about shoes to go with my dress!  I know, I know, horrible fashion fail, I’ve just been so busy that I kept meaning to get around to it yet never quite got there.  *insert monkey hiding face in hands emoji* It hit me while I was at work on Thursday and I knew that I’d have to head straight to the mall after work.  I knew exactly what I was wanting, so this couldn’t be too hard, right?  Haha, how wrong I was!  I went to every store in that mall and couldn’t find anything even similar to what I was looking for or could even bring myself to consider.  Finally, it was 8:00 and I was getting desperate when I remembered what my coworker, Starla had told me.  We just recently got DSW in town and she told me I HAD to go there, but it is on the complete other side of town so I didn’t really feel like driving all that way out of my way, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Well, it is all her fault, I am now head over heels for DSW!  They not only had my dream shoes for the wedding, I also walked out with these adorable chunky heels that were perfect for my rehearsal dinner dress and a list of shoes I am still drooling over.  ❤

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The best part?  For the price of one normal pair of shoes I totally walked out with two!  If youj’re reading this Starla, thanks a million for sending me there!  (even if you did cost me more money yet to be spent in the future 😉 )

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ONE: Kate Spade Surprise Sale

You guys, I was so excited to get the email that the Kate Spade Surprise Sale is back!!!!  Hurry though, it literally ends tonight and there are way too many cute deals to take a chance of missing out on!

TWO: DSW

You guys, I know I just wrote about them up above, but I am seriously in love with DSW!  They  have the cutest shoes for a great price.  I am seriously dying to go back and pick up some more cute heels for this summer!

THREE: Wildest Dreams Cover

This cover of Wildest Dreams by husband and wife duo, Daniel and Erin Morris is just too good!  His violin skills are incredible and she is just too adorable and great on the piano too.  I randomly stumbled upon their channel and have been loving the music.

FOUR: Retro Inspired Cameras

Ever since a young age I have loved anything that came from another era or looked like it does and I am totally loving the looks of this retro inspired camera with the ease of a digital.  Bonus points for the fact that it hooks up to wifi for easy posting. I definitely have my eye on this one for an easy point and shoot I can take on adventures with me while looking totally adorable in the process.

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Happy Hump Day!

Leighton Michele